According to Deadline, Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, Helen Mirren, and Danny DeVito are teaming up for a “stylish reinvention of the film noir genre” from Oscar-winning Ray director Taylor Hackford (he won for the 1978 short film Teenage Father, not for Ray). The project is called Sniff, which is apparently an acronym for “Senior Nursing Institute & Family Foundation,” and the film is reportedly a “hot package” at the Toronto International Film Festival this year.
Sniff is about a pair of retired detectives (Freeman and DeVito) who are pulled back into duty when residents of a high-end retirement community start mysteriously dying. Eventually, the two of them discover a retiree conspiracy involving “sex, drugs, and murder” at the hands of a retired kingpin (Pacino) and his “femme fatale enforcer, The Spider” (Mirren). That all sounds kind of premise-y, which is to say that the basic concept seems like a joke even if nobody is saying “this is a funny movie, old people solving a mystery is funny,” but Hackford seems to be taking it pretty seriously. In terms of his vision, he wants Sniff to be to film noir what Knives Out was to the whodunnit, in the sense that it took an “old genre” and resurrected it by “spicing it up with life and making it real in the contemporary situation.” Hackford says there will be “laughs and smiles” but writer Tom Grey’s script “gets darker and darker” as it goes. He also compares it to the Ocean’s Eleven movies, in the sense that it has a big-name cast and that it’s a movie for adults that can still “play broadly.”
Basically, it’s going to be the exact movie that everyone wants to see, and it just happens to be about Morgan Freeman and Danny DeVito solving a mystery at a retirement community run by Al Pacino and Helen Mirren—who is playing a heavy known only as “The Spider.” This is a serious movie!