Although this is news that we've known for quite some time now, the trades have finally gotten around to officially announcing Sam Rockwell's participation in Choke; the big-screen adaptation of one of my favorite Chuck Palahniuk books. The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Rockwell will star alongside Anjelica Huston, with Clark Gregg (What Lies Beneath) set to make his feature directorial debut off a script he also penned. Kelly Macdonald and Brad Henke are also set to star, while Contrafilm and ATO Pictures will produce. Production is set to begin this week in New Jersey.
Choke marks the second Palahniuk book to hit the big screen, following the ultra successful Fight Club from back in 1999. Even though the guy has a massive fanbase, his books don't exactly feature the type of material Hollywood normally craves. They're dark, disturbing, and include characters who usually suffer from some sort of warped addiction. For example, in Choke, not only is the main character (Rockwell) a sex addict, but he also plots a scheme to literally choke in restaurants in order to feed off the sympathy of those around him. It's his hope that, in turn, these people will give him money (after he complains to them about fictional bills) that he can then use to pay for his sick mother's care at a private mental hospital. It's a nutty book with nutty characters, and I can't wait to see Huston as the sick mother. Rockwell should also shine as Victor Mancini, a guy who's so dirty, disgusting and conniving that you can't help but love him. It's a tough book to adapt, but I also thought the same of Fight Club. Survivor is another favorite of mine, but plans to adapt that book were shelved after 9/11 (it opens with the main character on a plane that he hijacked). No word on a release date for Choke, but I imagine it will hit theaters (or film festivals) sometime next year.