Paramount and Warner Bros. are set to partner on Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close: A Novel, with Stephen Daldry to direct two Oscar-winners, Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks.
The deals are not yet closed. Warners grabbed rights to the book, then brought in Rudin and Paramount. It has not yet been determined which studio will take domestic or foreign. The two studios partnered on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Another Oscar-winner, screenwriter Eric Roth (Forrest Gump) adapted the book, which like Foer’s 2002 debut bestseller, Everything is Illuminated (which was made into an indie film by actor/director Liev Schreiber in 2005), involves multiple narrators and time frames. Bullock and Hanks will take on the parents of a brainy nine-year-old vegan/scientist/artist/pacifist who plays a tambourine (recalling the drummer-hero of Gunther Grass’s The Tin Drum). He searches for a lock that matches a mysterious key left behind by his father, who died the year before in the North Tower on September 11, 2001. His father’s parents also recount how they met and married and lived through World War II. The filmmakers are just starting the search for their young lead as they prep a mid-to-late January start in New York City.
Producer Scott Rudin is on a roll.
The prolific film and theater producer boasts two likely fall Oscar contenders: David Fincher’s A Social Network and the Coens’ True Grit, starring last year’s Oscar-winner Jeff Bridges. Next month, Fincher starts shooting the global hit book franchise, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. Rudin recently scored the film rights to Time cover boy Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom: A Novel, which is nabbing raves. Rudin won the best picture Oscar for the Coens’ 2007 film, No Country for Old Men.
Daldry and Rudin have proved a potent combo in the past, delivering Oscar wins for Nicole Kidman in The Hours and Kate Winslet in The Reader; Daldry was Oscar-nominated for both as well as his 2000 feature film debut, Billy Elliot. He also directed the hit London and Broadway musical, which won ten Tony Awards, including best musical.