Taylor Hackford is set to return to the director’s chair with a brand new project which sounds promising from the start. Titled Sniff, the 2022 film will be a revision of the noir genre. Set in a very expensive retirement community, Sniff will uncover an insidious situation that has taken hold of the seemingly innocent environment.
“I have always been a big fan of film noir but haven’t really made one, though I did make Against All Odds,” Hackford said. “That was a remake of Out of the Past, which is one of the best film noirs ever. I didn’t want to make a shot for shot redo of that, but took it as inspiration. Adam and Matt Skiena sent me the script, over the transom to my agent, and I was delighted. First-time screenwriter who has amazing style and conceptually understands what makes film noir stick.”
Hackford has already managed to secure a stellar cast, featuring the likes of Al Pacino, Morgan Freeman, Danny DeVito and Hellen Mirren among others. Freeman will star as a retired detective who is convinced by his ex-partner (DeVito) to launch a proper investigation of the hidden underworld of crime in the upscale retirement community.
While praising his predecessors and contemporaries, the director commented on how he was influenced by one recent film in particular – Knives Out: “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.”
Adding, “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.”