Having given a very good account of herself in slightly limited fare such as The A-Team, Valentine’s Day and Blade: Trinity and having lit up the screen alongside the unusually subdued Edward Norton in The Illusionist, Jessica Biel has now started filming her first leading role.
The Tall Man is a new thriller written and directed by Pascal Laugier (who won festival awards for his ferocious and unsettling horror film Martyrs) and as well as being Biel’s first lead role, also represents Laugier’s English-language debut.
The plot centres around the town of Cold Rock and the local legend of “The Tall Man”, a mysterious dark figure believed to be a child-snatcher. Over the years, many children have gone missing, leaving no clues or witnesses and when Biel’s son disappears she sets off to find him and solve the mystery of The Tall Man, once and for all.
Laugier has pitched the film as a “woman in jeopardy” film, akin to “Panic Room outdoors” and it is also said to be like the (early) output of M Night Shyamalan in tone. Certainly from the synopsis it sounds more like The Village or Signs and less like The Last Airbender. Which can only be a good thing.
The cast is rounded out by Stephen McHattie (2012, Watchmen), William B. Davis (The X-Files’ Cigarette Smoking Man), Samantha Ferris and Jodelle Ferland (Silent Hill, Case 39, Twilight: Eclipse) and with shooting already underway, it should wrap on 18th November. The producers have expressed a lot of confidence in Biel’s ability, commending her sensitivity and diverse performances as making her a great fit for the role. Whether or not she can give a good account of herself as she makes the step up to leading a film, she at least deserves the chance to show what she can do.
Biel has “Nailed” out soon, directed by David O Russell and co-starring Jake Gyllenhaaln and Laugier’s next project should see him doing a remake of the aforementioned “Martyrs”.