Details on the next movie from the author of Fight Club.
In 1999, Hollywood discovered a then-fledgling writer by the name of Chuck Palahniuk when director David Fincher (Se7en, Zodiac) turned his first book, Fight Club, into an explosive movie. Since then, the nihilistic novelist has produced a steady stream of transgressional fiction that is both massively popular with readers and ripe for the film-adaptation picking.
After a near decade-long wait, the second of Palahniuk's mind-blowing stories is making it to the big screen. Adapted and directed by Clark Gregg (In Good Company, We Were Soldiers), Palahniuk's first New York Times best seller, Choke, is on schedule to be released this August.
I recently had the opportunity to grill Choke's star, Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Charlie's Angels), at the AFI Dallas International Film Festival on what we can expect from the movie. "It's a dark comedy," he said. "It's like in the tone of Harold and Maude. I think it's going to be really good."
Published in 2001, Choke is about medical school drop-out/colonial re-enactor Vincent Mancini who fakes choking in restaurants so he can then bilk the good Samaritans who save him out of money to pay for his mother's mounting nursing home debts -- a mother, mind you, who was deemed unfit when Vincent was a child, so he was put into foster homes, from which she would repeatedly kidnap him.
Rockwell plays the role of Vincent Mancini and Anjelica Huston plays his mother; Brad Henke and Kelly Macdonald co-star. "Just all kinds of good people," Rockwell says of the rest of the cast.
Oh and did I mention that Vincent is also a sex addict? Well, he is, and the character spends a lot of time going to sex addict support groups and then falling off the wagon -- in lurid detail -- in the book. But Rockwell claimed Choke isn't going to be too graphic. "It's not too bad at all. Nothing you haven't seen on Sex and the City," he told me.
Then again, when I prodded and asked if there was going to be anything like the rape-fantasy scenes in the novel, he wavered. "Nah. I mean, well, we'll see. Maybe." In fact, it sounds like Palahniuk fans will be quite pleased with the adaptation. "I think we were trying to be really loyal to the book," he told me. "I think Chuck's happy with it."
But although Choke ultimately comes from the same brain that spawned Fight Club and certainly has the same dark bent, Rockwell promises that it will be a very different animal in the theater. "It's not Fight Club," he said. "We don't have the special effects. It's very much an independent film. It's a very different story. We did a super low budget on this thing, so people should know it doesn't have CGI and stuff. We don't need CGI." Then he added: "You might need it on me."
Sam Rockwell can currently be seen starring Snow Angels, in select theaters now.