Production studio 21 Laps has licensed the rights to Scott McCloud’s graphic novel The Sculptor and has assigned Destin Daniel Cretton (Short Term 12) as director. There was an actual bidding war over the distribution rights, which Warner Bros. won.
The Sculptor was released in 2015 and was McCloud’s first re-entry into the graphic novel fiction market after becoming world-famous for his analytical visual essays on the medium like Understanding Comics and Reinventing Comics. This man literally wrote the book on how to make a comic book, so everyone was anticipating this GN before it came out.
What they got was one of the saddest, most depressing stories to ever hit the medium…and granted, this is just my judgment and I don’t seek out the “sad” part of comics very often, but I’d hate to read something more crushing than this. The titular character is David Smith, a man with bold dreams of becoming the most famous sculptor in the world. Only problem with that is….nobody has become a household name for sculpting art in at least a hundred years. He seems doomed to obscurity.
But David is determined….and desperate. So desperate that when he actually meets Death — disguised as a human on the street — he’s given the offer of supernatural sculpting talent in exchange for his soul within one year. David doesn’t want to die a nobody, to the extent that he would willingly shorten his life to make his dreams happen. So he takes that offer, and the next morning he’s creating magnificent statues with ease.
Naturally, it’s a monkey paw wish. Death said David would be the world’s greatest sculptor…he didn’t say anyone would notice. No one buys his art, and then his apartment floor collapses under the weight of all his unsold material. Before long David is a smelly unshaven bum, running around subway lobbies and screaming hysterically at people. …And it gets more depressing from there.
But hey, if you’re the type who enjoys tear-duct-manipulating programs like This Is Us, maybe The Sculptor will be the downer movie for you. It currently has no release date.