The Rider, which I ranked #4 on my Top Ten List for 2018, was a moving breakthrough of small indepedent cinema on multiple levels, not the least of which is that a female Chinese-American director had beautifully told a deeply personal, semi-autobiographical story of her no-name, non-professional Native American leading actor.
Then recently, it was announced that Zhao would be applying her considerable artistry and empathy to the biopic of the first African-American U.S. Marshall, way back in the 19th Century.
And now, out of nowhere, comes the first look photos of her current project Nomadland, starring two-time Academy Award winner Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Fargo). Set roughly a decade ago, it’s about a woman’s van-dwelling nomadic odyssey through the American West after she’s lost everything during the Great Recession.
In a statement, Zhao said:
- “As I fell in love with the American west, it was impossible not to become fascinated with the roads that lead to the many adventures beyond the horizon. I’m very fortunate to be able to hit the road with a talented team and collaborate with a cast of professional and non-professional actors who are deeply giving and inspiring. I can’t wait to share their stories and what we’ve discovered along the way.”
Recently picked up by distributor Fox Searchlight, Nomadland is still currently in production. No release date has been announced.
And if all that weren’t enough, Zhao is also attached to the MCU project The Eternals. Yes, a Marvel movie. Everything about Zhao as a filmmaker fascinates and excites me, and I am there for anything she wants to make.