According to Deadline, acclaimed filmmaker Taylor Hackford (Ray) is currently developing a brand new film noir project titled Sniff, centering around two retired detectives. Oscar winners Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, and Helen Mirren have officially signed on for leading roles in the upcoming film along with Oscar nominee Danny DeVito. This marks Mirren’s latest collaboration with Freeman and Pacino, following 2010’s Red and 2013’s Phil Spector, respectively.
During an interview with the outlet, Hackford revealed that he was inspired by Rian Johnson to reinvent and jumpstart the film noir genre, just like what the Knives Out director did with the whodunit genre.
“Usually you don’t want to mention other films and this has nothing to do with that film in terms of story,” Hackford said. “But I loved what Rian Johnson did in terms of taking an old genre, the whodunit, and spicing it up with life and making it real in the contemporary situation. That’s what I have in mind for Sniff in the film noir. There is a stylistic quotient in the writing and the characters that gives the audience light. There is an enjoyment in film noir, especially when you get a Bogart, a Mitchum, somebody who knows how to deliver great dialogue. That’s what Tom wrote and I think it will be fun with the actors. At its core, I’m serious about film noir and that it gets dark and difficult. There will be laughs and smiles in the film, but as it goes, it gets darker and darker, and it pays off. If you are using film noir and it doesn’t pay off in a very climactic way, it becomes a euphemistic use of that turn and this is not that. We’ve got great racehorses on a really interesting track and when that happens, there is potential if I do my job, to turn out a memorable film.”
Described as a stylish reinvention of the film noir genre, Sniff will be directed by Hackford from a screenplay written by Tom Grey. Production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2022.
“In the film, two residents die under suspicious circumstances in a high-end luxury retirement community,” reads the official synopsis. “Retired detective Joe Mulwray (Freeman) is pulled back into the action by his former partner William Keys (DeVito), and they uncover a hidden underworld of sex, drugs, and murder in the wealthy community controlled by kingpin Harvey Stride (Pacino), and his femme fatale enforcer, The Spider (Mirren). Sniff is an acronym for Senior Nursing Institute & Family Foundation.”
Sniff will be produced by Hackford for Anvil Films along with Adam Goodman and Matt Skiena for Dichotomy Creative Group. It will be executive produced by Grey.