Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind, The Dark Tower) has been working on getting his first feature film directing gig to the big screen for quite awhile now. His project is an adaptation of Mark Helprin's 1983 novel Winter's Tale. The project hasn't gone anywhere since it was first announced last year due to financial issues, but today Vulture is reporting that the film has landed a couple of huge big name actors to help thrust the project into production... Will Smith and Russell Crowe.
The story is set in both nineteenth-century and present-day Manhattan, and follows "a petty thief who falls in love with the dying girl who inhabits the house he’s just burgled and the gangster boss bent on killing him." According to the report, Crowe is in negotiations to play Pearly Soames, the gangster boss, and Smith would end up playing a judge. They are still currently on the search for the lead roles in the film which include, the thief and the little girl.
The movie is gearing up to start shooting in the Fall of this year.
Here's the description of the book:
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 who, because of a love which at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead.
The title Winter's Tale is a reference to the similarly named Shakespeare play. In that play, as in this book, a major character disappears for years, only to return after a long and unexplained absence, unharmed, transformed, and redeemed.