Eric Bana and ‘Up in the Air’ co-creator will collaborate


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Those enamored of 2009 Oscar nominee ‘Up in the Air’ have been waiting with some anticipation to see what co-writer Sheldon Turner will do next.

Turner’s dramatic thriller ‘By Virtue Fall’ has, after all, been in various stages of development for a while now. The Golden Globe winner has been set not only to write but also direct ‘Virtue,’ which looks at two ATF agents who find themselves on opposite sides of the friendship divide after one sells out the other.


Eric Bana and Colin Farrell were both reported last year to be interested in the independently financed picture, and ‘Hurt Locker’ producer Nicolas Chartier had been on board to produce. Farrell wound up opting out, and Chartier says he’s no longer involved with the project. But Bana is now very much on board, telling 24 Frames he hopes to make it his next movie after he finishes shooting ‘Blackbird,’ the thriller he’s currently making with Olivia Wilde. (Of his character, Bana says drolly, ‘He’s not a great guy.’)

[Update, 5:49 p.m. The project has now been set up with Bill Block’s international sales company and financier QED and is set to star James Spader, Ryan Phillippe and Carla Gugino, according to a person who was briefed on the project but who was not authorized to speak about it publicly. Jennifer Klein, who is producing the movie, declined to comment.]

Turner has been a prolific writer who has penned screenplays for directors as diverse as Michael Mann and Thomas Bezucha, though his best-known produced credit is of course for Jason Reitman’s ‘Up in the Air.’ (Turner also wrote the Adam Sandler remake of ‘The Longest Yard.’)

‘Virtue’ occupies more genre territory than ‘Up in the Air.’ But given how Turner melded the serious and the entertaining on ‘Air’ (he came up with, among other flourishes, Clooney’s memorable line about anyone who’s ever built an empire), it’s one to keep an eye on.


Screenwriting credits, floating up in the air

--Steven Zeitchik