A triple-threat of Academy Award winners – Denzel Washington, Rami Malek, Jared Leto – are on board for upcoming cop thriller The Little Things, helmed by John Lee Hancock. The director, best known for his work on dramas The Blind Side and The Founder, appears to be continuing with his newfound crime spree following the 2019 Netflix hit The Highwaymen, albeit treading a much darker path as he resurrects a script he first wrote for Warner Bros. almost 30 years ago.
Much like The Highwaymen, the script for The Little Things has long been gathering dust in a Hollywood vault, abandoned in the mid-90s after original director Steven Spielberg decided the material was too dark for him at the time. How dark? Well, the recently released trailer has already teased comparisons to 1995 classic Se7en, which famously featured Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman as detectives on the trial of Kevin Spacey’s psychopathic turn as John Doe.
In The Little Things, Washington and Malek – an unlikely team at face-value – star as obsessive detectives sniffing out the trail of a suspect, played by Leto, in a series of brutal serial killings. In typical Leto fashion, the role of the antagonist looks to be especially unhinged, which should make for some heady mind games throughout as the alleged killer toys with his pursuers.
As the script was written in the early 90s, it now serves – again, much like The Highwaymen – as a period-piece as well as a psychological thriller, set at a time before technological advances like widespread internet and smartphones.
The film will also show a side of L.A. not often seen in film. This is according to an interview Leto did recently with Entertainment Weekly, where he also describes his character Albert Sparma as “someone who’s stuck in a part of life that maybe he feels like he doesn’t deserve. He’s been blessed and cursed with a significant amount of intelligence and wit, but doesn’t really fit into society so well.”
Perhaps most notable is that The Little Things will serve as a fresh slice of history for the ever-changing dynamic between theatrical and streaming releases. The film, hitting the US late January, will be the first on the highly controversial ‘hybrid’ release schedule by Warner Bros and HBO Max. That is, it will be released in both theaters and on HBO’s streaming service at the same time. This release schedule will continue throughout 2021, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and apply to around 17 big budget films, including Godzilla vs. Kong, Space Jam: A New Legacy, Dune, The Matrix 4, and Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho.
What this means for an Australian release date is still unclear. Currently, Foxtel’s streaming services Foxtel Now and Binge are the go-to platforms for HBO content. Although it hasn’t yet been confirmed whether the hybrid release schedule will even affect Australian cinema releases, seeing as this country has been far more pragmatic with its COVID-19 response when compared to America.
The US release date for The Little Things is slated for January 29th, 2021, while website flicks.com.au lists the Australian theatrical release date as 18th February, 2021. The best guess is that Aussies will at least be able to watch Washington and Malek in action before March comes around.
However the film ends up in Australia, it’ll just be good to see Denzel back in his element as a detective. And we all know what kind of history the actor shares with the badge.