As part of our month-long celebration of William S. Burroughs, we’re going to now talk about an upcoming movie based on his book, Queer.

The movie finished filming last year and has been in post-production since about July. According to a number of websites, some citing mysterious “good intel,” the film will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May, 2024. I’ve also heard there will be a general release in the autumn.

The movie is directed by Luca Guadagnino, who is perhaps most famous for “Call Me By Your Name” (2017), and stars Daniel Craig, Jason Schwartzman, Drew Starkey, and Lesley Manville. Craig will play Burroughs’ alter ego, Lee, and Drew Starkey will play Allerton, a character based on Burroughs’ real-life crush, Adelbert Lewis Marker. Other acting roles can be seen on the IMDB page.

It’s great to see this project finally finished and given a tentative release date (at least for the premiere). Burroughs fans were teased for many years by the prospect of an adaptation and it seemed to be another example of a failed project. For some time, Steve Buscemi was meant to direct with Guy Pearce, Ben Foster, and Kelly Macdonald starring. In 2011, they even did a live reading of the script but the film was never made.

It is unclear to what extent the film will remain faithful to the book as little is known beyond the actors and directors mentioned above, and the fact that it was shot in 2023. Most notes on the film available online merely draw upon descriptions of the book. The version Buscemi was meant to direct seemed to include extratextual elements, such as the death of Joan Vollmer, but the new version has a different writer.

I look forward to seeing how Daniel Craig tackles the character of Burroughs/Lee. Although most films about the Beats tend to disappoint, several actors have managed to portray Burroughs reasonably well, including Viggo Mortensen in On the Road (2012).