Beloved architect Frank Lloyd Wright is finally the subject of a biopic film to be directed by Driving Miss Daisy’s Bruce Beresford. The father of “organic architecture,” a term he coined, Wright had an innovative philosophy that fused architecture with its environment, and he designed some of the United State’s most famous buildings from the 20th Century. The film, called Taliesin, is written by Nicholas Meyer and highlights the period of Wright’s life which involved the murder of his mistress Martha Cheney. The title refers to Wright’s Prairie-style home where the tragic events took place.
Wright first became famous with his Prairie style architecture, which integrated architecture with the land, and included large overhangs for shade, unfinished materials, sloping roofs for water run off, and open plans to allow for interior and exterior to flow together. Examples of this style can be seen all over Buffalo, where the noted Darwin D. Martin House is located, and Chicago, home to the famous Robie House. Wright also designed public buildings and even factories in the Prairie style.
As Wright aged, he focused on his Organic style and love of nature, which often included cantilevered balconies and terraces that plunged its residents into their surrounding landscapes and water. Fallingwater, outside of Pittsburgh, is the prime example of this era, which is built over a waterfall that runs beneath the building. The interior also incorporates the natural land, with Wright’s innovative style of building the home’s living room and fire places around the natural boulders that sit on the home’s site. He then moved onto Usonian houses, which adapted an early style of radiant heat floors and sustainable plywood insulation.
The film’s key events surround the scandalous affair that Wright had with his client Edwin Cheney’s wife after designing a home for the couple in Oak Park. In 1911, Wright moved Martha Cheney and her two children into his sprawling Prairie-style Taliesin home and studio in Wisconsin. Three years later, while Wright was on a business trip, one of his servants set fire to Taliesin, then murdered Cheney, her children and several workers with an axe. The controversial and bloody tale will be the main focus of the film. The role of Frank Lloyd Wright has yet to be cast.