“It’s a love story between two men set in the ’30s that has explicit sexual content, or at least it challenges you with the sexual relationship between these two men,” Haynes told Variety. “One is a Native American character and one is a corrupt cop in L.A. They have to flee L.A. ultimately and go to Mexico.”
Haynes wrote the film’s story in collaboration with Phoenix and Jon Raymond, the Portland novelist and screenwriter best known for his collaborations with Kelly Reichardt (Showing Up). Phoenix’s co-star, likely to be an unknown, has yet to be cast.
(While the film will mark the first teaming of Haynes and Phoenix, Raymond previously worked on Haynes’ adaptation of Mildred Pierce.)
Haynes’ film is the latest bold choice for Phoenix, who has consistently sought challenging work in the wake of his Oscar win for Joker. He recently delivered a memorably quirky take on the titular French emperor in Ridley Scott’s Napoleon and will soon be seen opposite Lady Gaga in the musical(!) sequel Joker: Folie à Deux.