Brazilian director Heitor Dhalia has replaced Catherine Hardwicke on the supernatural Summit Entertainment project “If I Stay,” which has Dakota Fanning attached to star as the female lead.
An adaptation of Gayle Forman‘s novel of the same name, the story centers on a talented classical musician (Fanning) who faces the difficult choice between her art and her relationship with an indie musician only to have that compounded (to say the least) as she is forced to choose between life and death after a car accident. As the novel’s Amazon synopsis details, through flashbacks and thoughts in her comatose state, we “explore the teenager’s life, her passion for classical music and her strong relationships with her family, friends and boyfriend, Adam.” Definitely sounds like a novel that would be more attractive to the lower spectrum of its “14 years and over” age recommendation and also very much in the vein of Alice Sebold‘s popular “The Lovely Bones,” a novel adapted for the screen that failed to win over audiences with the supernatural concept.
Fanning has been a Summit darling recently starring in their precious cash-cow ‘Twilight‘ franchise as well as the recent biopic “The Runaways” and last year’s failed sci-fi-actioner “Push.” Their confidence in her abilities is seemingly being personified by this move — the banking of a high-concept drama on Fanning without Hardwicke, a fellow Summit regular. Dhalia, meanwhile, is relatively unknown to American audiences with his last film being “À Deriva” starring Vincent Cassell and Camilla Belle, an Un Certain Regard competitor at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Roller derby athlete Shauna Cross, who scripted Drew Barrymore‘s directorial debut “Whip It,” adapted Forman’s novel for the screen with Denise Di Novi producing. [Variety]