Stars Kick Up "Dust"
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Stars kick up 'Dust' for Towne Parker,
By MICHAEL FLEMING:
the best way to get studios bidding on a period classic like "Ask the Dust" which has been gathering dust since it was written in 1939? For director Robert Towne, the answer was landing Colin Farrell and "2 Fast 2 Furious" star Eva Mendes. That duo's ready to star in Towne's adaptation of the John Fante novel about a pair of immigrants whose chase of the American dream in 1930s L.A. leads them to each other. CW partners Paula Wagner and Tom Cruise, who produced Towne's last directing effort, 1998's Without Limits will produce with Jonas McCord.
CAA's expected to broker a studio deal soon that will make Dust the first film Farrell does after completing the Oliver Stone-directed Intermedia epic Alexander which starts shooting this summer.
The book has been on Towne's mind so long that he used it as a touchstone for Chinatown; he's wanted to direct Ask the Dust for about 30 years. Farrell will play Arturo Bandini, a first generation Italian hoping to land a writing career and a blue-eyed blonde on his arm. Mendes plays Camilla, a fiery Mexican beauty who hopes to rise above her station by marrying an American.
Towne, who finally gets to direct a film that doesn't involve a sweaty track star, will work around the fact that Farrell is Irish and
Mendes of Cuban descent. She will next be seen starring with Denzel Washington in the MGM drama Out of Time and alongside Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear in the Farrelly Brothers-directed conjoined twins comedy Stuck on You.
The Book: Arturo Bandini is a twenty-year-old burgeoning writer, spending his days hungry for success, life and food in a dingy hotel in Los Angeles.
Full of the enthusiasm of youth, and the thrill of having one short story published, the reality of poverty and prejudice has hit him hard. He meets a local waitress, Camilla Lopez, and embarks on a strange and strained love-hate relationship. Slowly, but inexorably, it descends into the realms of madness.
Fante depicts the highs and lows of the emotional state of Bandini with conviction, but without easy sentiment. In Ask the Dust, Fante is truly 'telling it like it is'as a poverty-stricken son of an immigrant in 'perfect' California.