Ron Howard's new film sounds like it has some major awards potential. Universal Studios closed a $1 million deal to produce a spec script, Mena which will be directed by Ron Howard. Mena is about a Barry Seal, a drug smuggler and pilot who worked with both the CIA and the Medellín Cartel in the 1980s. The title refers to the town Mena, Ark. where most of the dealings went down. Seal was killed by the Colombian cartel in 1986. Obviously, this movie is going to be pretty dramatic with the drug smuggling, government involvement in illegal activities, and Seal's violent demise. Then there's the fact that it's a period piece — sure, the 80s count as a period piece. All of this combined and Mena sounds like exactly the type of film that racks up the trophies come awards season.
Not so fast though. It will be quite some times before Mena is released. The script, which was written by a relatively unknown writer Gary Spinelli, was only picked up this past weekend after a bidding war that also included Sony. So while Howard has already been chosen, there is still a ton of work that is just getting started including casting. Barry Seal would be a huge role to land for any actor especially for a newcomer. Also, Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas and Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were presidents during this time, so if those parts are cast that could be interesting and potentially disastrous.
For now, Howard has two films already lined up, Heart of the Sea which will be released in 2015 and Inferno based on the Dan Brown book. Come back here in, say, three years for more Mena news.