Gus Van Sant out, Ang Lee in, on gay cowboy saga
To follow up on his special effects extravaganza The Hulk, Ang Lee is circling a big-screen adaptation of the epic love story Brokeback Mountain. The Focus Features project is set against the sweeping vistas of Wyoming and Texas and centers on two young men--a ranch hand and a rodeo cowboy--who meet in the summer of 1961. Unexpectedly, the two forge a lifelong connection, with complications, joys, and tragedies that provide a testament to the endurance and power of love. It is based on a short story by E. Annie Proulx and is being adapted by Proulx and Lonesome Dove author Larry McMurtry. Proulx's The Shipping News was turned into a film starring Kevin Spacey.
Brokeback was at one time being eyed by director Gus Van Sant for Columbia Pictures to distribute but ended up under development at Good Machine when Sony's option expired. Because Lee had no project in place once he completed Universal's The Hulk, speculation swirled as to which project the eclectic director would take on next. His palette has ranged from the suburban family drama The Ice Storm to the Civil War-set Ride With the Devil to the martial arts epic Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.