Robert Zemeckis Picks Adaptation of Beloved Documentary as Newest Project

By October 25, 2013


Any time director Robert Zemeckis takes on a new project that doesn’t involve the terrifying, highly creepy motion capture work he’s favored over the past decade, it’s worth celebrating (and, yes, we’re still on the fence about Flight), but today’s news of a new Zemeckis project is just plain great, motion capture or not (there will be no motion capture here).

Variety reports that the director is now attached to direct Universal’s feature adaptation of beloved documentary Marwencol. A hit on the festival circuit and with critics’ groups, the 2010 documentary is a wonderful achievement on its own, and a dramatized version could be something very special.

The original film is based on the journey of Mark Hogancamp (Universal has optioned both Hogancamp’s life rights and the doc for this new project), who was beaten into a coma outside a bar, suffering injuries that robbed him of such essential things as memory and hand-eye coordination. In order to heal up both physically and emotionally, Hogancamp decided to build a one-sixth-scale town (that’s “Marwencol”) in his backyard. Though the town was modeled after a WWII-era hamlet, he populated it with highly detailed dolls that looked like his friends and family. There was, of course, even a Mark doll. While the building and upkeep of Marwencol helped his recovery, things changed dramatically for Hogancamp when the art world came knocking, intent on displaying his therapy in a gallery.


The documentary is incredibly engaging, very heartfelt, extremely emotional, and plain wonderful. It’s really just a superlative endeavor, but the prospect of a feature adaptation actually feels like a great idea (how rare is that?).

Zemeckis is still negotiating a deal to direct Lionsgate’s adaptation of the YA novel “Chaos Walking,” but Variety believes that Marwencol is a far more likely next picture for the director.

Caroline Thompson will script the film. The doc’s director, Jeff Malmberg, will executive produce.

Oh, and Zemeckis reportedly wants Leonardo DiCaprio to star as Hogancamp. No big.

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Kate Erbland
Kate Erbland is a staff writer for movie news and reviews at GeekNation. Her work can also be found at Film School Rejects, ScreenCrush, Vanity Fair, The Dissolve, Cosmopolitan, Bustle, amNewYork, New York Daily News, Dame Magazine, Mental Floss,, MSN Movies, and Boxoffice Magazine. She lives in New York City with two cats, two turtles, one boyfriend, and a frightening number of sensible canvas totes.