Sandra Hüller, Willem Dafoe Team for Samy Burch Film Late Fame

Movies News Willem Dafoe
Sandra Hüller, Willem Dafoe Team for Samy Burch Film Late Fame

Fresh off of an Oscar nomination for her collaboration with Todd Haynes on May December, screenwriter Samy Burch has her eyes set on a new project: Late Fame. According to Variety, Late Fame is an original screenplay that centers on Ed Saxberger, a former poet who had long ago written a poetry collection. Years later, a group of young artists rediscover his work and Ed must reevaluate his own artistic credibility. Willem Dafoe is set to star as Saxberger, with recent Oscar nominee Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall) cast as one of the young artists, Gloria, “a talented and mercurial theatre actress who toys with affections and who is all set to be admired by Saxberger, this legendary figure from a gritty New York golden age,” according to the synopsis.

The film appears to exhibit similar motifs to May December, which also examined the ways in which celebrity and public image interweave with spectacle—albeit through an examination of pedophilia and age-gap discourse. The synopsis reads that the feature explores “the illusory effect of praise on the soul, and the lingering ghostly presence of the past, whether it’s imagined or vividly remembered.” It reads a bit surreal, which presents a potentially fresh lens in approaching an artistic bildungsroman. Here’s hoping that it inclines itself more towards formal and narrative ingenuity rather than regurgitating the subjectivity of artist biopics. 

Kent Jones is set to direct the film, his most recent feature being the domestic drama Diane starring undersung character actors Mary Kay Place and Jake Lacy (of Girls, The White Lotus fame). His previous films also include the documentaries Hitchcock/Truffaut and Letter to Elia, the latter of which he co-directed with Martin Scorsese. If his previous collaborations indicate anything, hopefully it’s that this work will be a part of a throughline of patient, naturalistic work informed by attention to detail rather than by overwrought ideas.

Hafsah Abbasi is a film critic who has covered the Sundance Film Festival and the Mill Valley Film Festival in years past. She currently resides in Berkeley, California. Find her latest writing at

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