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Akiva Goldsman Looking At Tom Hiddleston & Benjamin Walker To Lead Directorial Debut 'Winter's Tale'

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by Oliver Lyttelton
November 7, 2011 10:00 AM
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Winter's Tale Akiva Goldsman Tom Hiddleston Benjamin Walker

First up is "Winter's Tale," set to mark the big-screen directorial debut of Akiva Goldsman, the Oscar-winning writer of "A Beautiful Mind," and smack-deserving writer of "Batman & Robin" and "The Da Vinci Code." Announced back in February, the film sees Goldsman tackle Mark Helprin's much-praised 1983 novel of the same name, which follows an orphan on the run from a criminal gang, who breaks into a New York mansion, only to fall in love with a dying woman, with reincarnation, apocalypse, rainbow bridges and a flying white horse all cropping up as well. It's something of a passion project for the screenwriter, who's been attached since 2009, and he spent the weekend performing some chemistry reads with some young talent for the lead roles.

First up is "Winter's Tale," set to mark the big-screen directorial debut of Akiva Goldsman, the Oscar-winning writer of "A Beautiful Mind," and smack-deserving writer of "Batman & Robin" and "The Da Vinci Code." Announced back in February, the film sees Goldsman tackle Mark Helprin's much-praised 1983 novel of the same name, which follows an orphan on the run from a criminal gang, who breaks into a New York mansion, only to fall in love with a dying woman, with reincarnation, apocalypse, rainbow bridges and a flying white horse all cropping up as well. It's something of a passion project for the screenwriter, who's been attached since 2009, and he spent the weekend performing some chemistry reads with some young talent for the lead roles.

For Peter Lake, the male lead, both Tom Hiddleston (Loki in "Thor" and "The Avengers") and Benjamin Walker (who'll play the undead-slaying president in "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" next summer) are in the mix, while Bella Heathcote ("Dark Shadows," "Cogan's Trade"), Elizabeth Olsen ("Martha Marcy May Marlene"), Gabriele Wilde ("The Three Musketeers" ) and Sarah Gadon ("A Dangerous Method," "Cosmopolis") are reading for the consumptive Beverly Penn. Meanwhile, Russell Crowe, who starred in the Goldsman-penned "A Beautiful Mind" and "Cinderella Man," is said to be circling a villainous role, presumably that of Pearly Soames, leader of a criminal gang called The Short Tails.

There's some impressive talent here -- people like Hiddleston, Walker, Heathcoate and Olsen have strong resumes, rather than being CW-teen-show exiles, so that bodes sort of well, and in all fairness, Goldsman's cut his directing teeth with some impressive work on the TV show "Fringe," so this shouldn't be written off immediately. However, there are more disasters on his CV than triumphs, and the book labelled by many as unfilmable, it's certainly something that we'll be cautious of. It might be moot anyway; it was reported back in February that the film was greenlit at Warner Bros at a $75r to help fund it, unsurprising considering the nervous fiscal climate at studios these days.

Also looking for a young lead is Roland Emmerich, who having shit the bed with Shakespearean conspiracy bullshit thriller "Anonymous" is returning to the science-fiction event movie comfort zone with Sony's "Singularity." The film's logline has been kept under wraps until now, but THR say that it centers around Adam, a young man whose body consists of a swarm of microscopic nano-robots. Emmerich's casting up at present, and is set to test a number of names in the coming week, most of whom are virtual unknowns at present.

Ben Barnes of the Narnia franchise is perhaps the best-known in the mix, while another actor, Logan Marshall Green, will get a big boost next summer playing Noomi Rapace's love interest in Ridley Scott's "Prometheus," along with "Prom" star Thomas McDonell who plays the younger version of Johnny Depp in Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows." Less familiar, but also testing: Australian actor Luke Bracey ("Monte Carlo"), Luke Grimes ("Brothers & Sisters") and Julian Morris ("Pretty Little Liars"). Our suggestion is that Emmerich just bites the bullet and casts an actor named Interchangeable White Pretty Boy. "Singularity" is currently scheduled to hit on May 17th, 2013 while "Winter's Tale" is currently undated.

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