Lately, Sandra Bullock has been seeing plenty of yellow thanks to her starring role in the summer's hit spinoff, Minions, but she could be seeing plenty of gold this spring — Oscar gold, that is. If this first look at Sandra Bullock in Our Brand Is Crisis provided by Entertainment Weekly is any indication, Bullock could be walking the red carpet at the Academy Awards next year for the third time, following her nomination (and win!) for 2009's The Blind Side and her nomination for 2013's Gravity . The upcoming dramedy is a fictionalized adaptation of a 2005 documentary film of the same name, and will feature Miss Congeniality as political consultant "Calamity" Jane Bodine.
As Variety reported in 2014, Our Brand Is Crisis tells the story of "a group of American political consultants hired by former Bolivian president [Pedro Gallo] to help him get reelected." The film also stars Billy Bob Thornton as the opposition's leader, Anthony Mackie (Avengers' Falcon) and Ann Dowd (The Leftovers) as Jane's fellow consultants, as well as Zoe Kazan (Olive Kitteridge), Scoot McNairy (Gone Girl), and Joaquim de Almeida — who you may remember as villain Ramon Salazar from Season 3 of 24 — as President Gallo.
There's plenty of talent behind the camera as well. Crisis was penned by Peter Straughan, the Academy Award-nominated screenwriter behind 2011's Gary Oldman spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The film is directed by David Gordon Green of the 2008 Seth Rogen/James Franco stoner comedy Pineapple Express. (Straughan's and Green's varied talents should make for an interesting combination.) And it's produced by Bullock's Gravity co-star George Clooney and his frequent collaborator Grant Heslov — who also produced 2012's Best Picture-winning film, Argo. (Clooney and Heslov have previously teamed up on the likes of Good Night, And Good Luck, The Ides Of March, and The Monuments Men.)
In fact, as EW detailed, Clooney and Heslov originally conceived of Crisis with Clooney himself in the lead role. The actual consultant involved in the real-life 2002 Bolivian presidential race was James Carville, formerly the lead strategist for President Clinton's campaign. Bullock and Clooney first started talking about her stepping into the lead role for him during promotional tours for Gravity ; ultimately Bullock signed on, the role was gender-flipped, and the rest is history.
Gender flipping is not just a great way to diversify Hollywood's storytelling — it's also an easy way to instantly make a character infinitely more interesting. We've all seen umpteen iterations of the type of unethical, sleazy reporter played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in 2002's Red Dragon. But when Bryan Fuller decided to gender flip the role for his Hannibal adaptation, Freddy Lounds became Freddie Lounds; and a cliché character became a fascinating fan-favorite. (That wasn't the only character from Thomas Harris's novels that Fuller gender-flipped, either: Dr. Alan Bloom also became Dr. Alana Bloom.)
There are several more examples of gender-flipping that prove the practice is a fruitful one: badass fighter pilot Starbuck in Syfy's Battlestar Galactica reboot; Angelina's Jolie's spy in Salt (a movie originally intended as a Tom Cruise vehicle); Emily Thorne in ABC's Revenge (an adaptation of The Count Of Monte Cristo); Lucy Liu as Joan Watson in CBS's Elementary; Tilda Swinton as creepy Minister Mason in Snowpiercer; Tilda Swinton (again) as The Ancient One in the upcoming Doctor Strange.
And it's looking as though this practice may bear fruit for Crisis as well. Awards prognostication site AwardsCircuit.com has the film listed in their (very early) predictions as the 29th most likely movie to be nominated for Best Picture, out of a list of 50. Green is supposedly the 30th most likely nominee for Best Director; Thornton is the 13th most likely nominee for Best Supporting Actor; Dowd is the 18th most likely nominee for Best Supporting Actress; and Bullock herself is currently the 15th most likely nominee for Best Actress, sandwiched right between Charlize Theron for Mad Max: Fury Road and Tilda Swinton for the upcoming drama A Bigger Splash.
Fifteenth place may seem like a long shot in a category of five, but remember that almost none of these movies have even come out yet. At this point, none of these premature predictions are based on anything more than industry rumblings and blatant guesswork. Any number of seismic shifts in the lineup could occur between now and when the nominating ballots are due on Jan. 8, 2016 as certain films soar beyond expectations while others unexpectedly crash and burn. Hopefully Crisis will land somewhere in the former category.
Our Brand Is Crisis will open everywhere on Oct. 30, 2015.