By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist February 2, 2011 at 2:18AM
Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman is probably still most infamous for penning "Batman Forever" and "Batman And Robin," two of the worst entries in the franchise. And while his talents seem to fail him with projects that involve any kind of fantastical bent, give Goldsman something straightforward to work with like "A Beautiful Mind" or "Cinderella Man" and he churns out a decent, if not particularly mind-blowing, script (he won an Oscar for the former). Well, he's been looking to make the leap from writer to director for a while now, and Warner Bros. has finally given him a shot.
Deadline reports that a greenlight has been given to "Winter's Tale," an adaptation of the best-selling book by Mark Helprin. The project is one that Goldsman has been circling since at least 2009, and unfortunately for us, it's a fantasy story that revolves around "a thief, a dying girl and a flying white horse in 19th Century and contemporary Manhattan." But Warner Bros. has faith in the guy, giving him a $75 million budget to work with and slotting him in for a spring 2012 shoot, once Goldsman's commitments to the forthcoming "The Dark Tower" mega franchise are completed. You can check out a synopsis of the book below from Amazon:
New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake--orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side.
Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying.
Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.
This isn't the first feature directing gig that has caught Goldsman's eye. He also considered "Man & Wife" last spring, but that film, with a plot about a husband who's a hitman and his wife who finds out, seems done to death and it's probably best for everyone that it never got off the ground. There's a premise that certainly needs a rest.
You can certainly say we have big reservations about this one as Goldsman's track record leaves a lot to be desired particularly since his projects have only attracted middling directors like the milquetoast Ron Howard, the overrated Alex Proyas and the plain disastrous Joel Schumacher. Let's hope his ambition reaches a bit further than theirs.