Director Mary Harron is no stranger to biopics based on larger-than-life personalities: after starting her career as a journalist documenting London’s punk scene, she made her directorial debut with the Valerie Solanas-centered I Shot Andy Warhol, and has since gone on to helm a film about the pinup Bettie Page and last year’s Lifetime movie about Anna Nicole Smith. (Despite all this, she’s best known for her American Psycho adaptation, which we dearly hope wasn’t based on a true story.)
For her next project, Harron is taking on the life of Salvador Dalí, based on the book Dalí and I: The Surreal Story, by art dealer Stan Lauryssens, who dealt in Dalí, and fakes, in often less-than-savory circumstances (the artist’s works were often used as a vessel for money laundering). Dalí was drawn into his inner circle, and even ended up living next door to the author. When it came out in 2008, Kirkus called Lauryssens’ story “crass, callous, sordid and cynical—thus, utterly true to the spirit of Dalí,” and Booklist noted, “As if the story of Lauryssens’ leap from working in a Belgian cheese factory to amassing a fortune hustling works by Dalí and hiding from Interpol in the only house in sight of Dalí’s Catalan holdfast isn’t tantalizing enough, he also enters the inner circle of Dalí intimates and collects bizarre, grotesque tales of voyeuristic Dalí’s ‘sex circuses’; the voraciousness of his sex-addicted, money-mad wife, Gala; and the truth about who created Dalí’s late works and the ‘McDalí’ carnival of fraud. It’s all terribly decadent, hard to believe, and enormously diverting.”
Particularly in the hands of Harron, we’re expecting the film to depict much more sinister Dalí than Adrien Brody’s goofy charmer in Midnight in Paris, and all the better for it. Click through the slideshow above to learn whom we’d like to see play Dalí, Gala, Lauryssens himself, and more.