Todd Haynes is back on the festival circuit with “May December,” his Cannes hit that stars frequent collaborator Julianne Moore as a former teacher forced to reckon with renewed interest in her scandalous relationship with a former student. Critics have praised the dark comedy as one of the funniest films of Haynes’ career, with many speculating that it could be an Oscar contender.

Amid all of the hype, the “Carol” director is already thinking ahead to his next queer period romance. Haynes had previously teased that he was developing a new project with Joaquin Phoenix that he envisioned as an NC-17 period piece set in Los Angeles in the 1930s. Speaking to IndieWire on the red carpet of the U.S. premiere of “May December” at the New York Film Festival, Haynes offered an update on the film.

“It’s still very much something that is forming,” Haynes said when asked about the project. “We have a script. I couldn’t be happier with where it ended up right after we shot ‘May December’ and before the strike. But the whole experience was prompted by Joaquin. It was prompted by his daring, his desire to push through barriers and to really get into the uncomfortable places about this relationship. And yet it felt like a very organic process.”

Haynes said that the untitled film is hoping to shoot in Mexico once Phoenix becomes available, explaining that the plot involves Phoenix’s character and his lover fleeing to Mexico.

“I want to be back working with as many of the people I worked with on ‘May December’ as possible,” he said when asked about potential production plans. “We hope to be mounting a production in Mexico. The two men run away to Mexico. It’s set in 1937-38 Los Angeles, but they flee to Mexico. And I think there’s a lot of intelligence that is leading us there, which would be an amazing experience. Because of the strike, projects Joaquin had been committed to have been postponed, of course. So, as always, it’s about dancing around availability and schedules.”

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