Chariots Of Fire Helmer Comes Out Of Retirement For Midnight Sun
English filmmaker Hugh Hudson started out as an editor of documentaries in the 1960s, and before long was making his own. Yet it is for his first narrative feature Chariots of Fire for which Hudson is best known. The biopic that followed the harrowing drama of two contentious track stars running in the 1924 Olympics won critical acclaim and four Oscars, including Best Picture. However despite this early success, Hudson’s career as a film director sputtered, then came to a screeching halt in 2000, after the Kim Basinger-fronted biopic I Dreamed of Africa proved to be major flop critically and at the box office. Since then, his only screen effort has been a little-known documentary called Rupture: A Matter of Life OR Death, which he created for BBC4. So frankly, it’s shocking to see Variety report that Hudson is set to return to the director’s chair to helm a new narrative feature, Midnight Sun.
The film, which Hudson co-wrote, is said to be a family-friendly adventure in the vein of Free Willy and Dolphin Tale, wherein a child connects to an animal in need and vows to save it. In the case of Midnight Sun, it will be a young boy who sets out to reunite a stranded polar bear cub with its missing mother, who has wondered off into northern Canada’s ice fields. Financing has already been secured for the project, so we can expect casting news to follow in short order.
Tapping into themes of determination and hope, the project seems a good fit for Hudson’s sensibilities. However his long-time helming hiatus is a cause for concern. Movies and audience expectations have shifted greatly since 2000, and even then Hudson out of touch with the times. Still, I’m pulling for him to succeed, as his film’s aspirational message is one I’d warmly welcome.