EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is putting together quite a package to adapt the 2003 Jon Krakauer book Under The Banner Of Heaven.In the deal coming together, Milk and J Edgar scribe Dustin Lance Black will write the script for Ron Howard to direct. Howard and his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer will produce with Shannon Costello, Jason Bateman and Stephanie Davis.
Under the Banner Of Heaven focuses on two brothers who murdered the wife and infant daughter of their younger brother. The killers claimed they were acting on orders from God, consistent with their interpretation of a fundamentalist interpretation that goes back to the formation of Mormonism. The brothers were members of a splinter group called the School of Prophets, which adhered to original tenets of the faith that included polygamy and a belief that true believers could speak directly with God. These were rooted as the faith grew to a mainstream appeal, but the brothers remain convinced they were obeying God’s command when they committed the heinous crime. Imagine’s Erica Huggins will be executive producer. Krakauer wrote Into Thin Air and Where Men Win Glory, the latter about football star-turned Army ranger Pat Tillman.
Grazer and Howard just worked with Black and Warner Bros on J. Edgar, the project that Imagine developed and produced with Clint Eastwood’s Malpaso. Eastwood directed Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of FBI head J Edgar Hoover, and Warner Bros releases the film October 21.
Howard and Grazer are prepping Rush, the Formula One drama scripted by Peter Morgan with Chris Hemsworth starring. Cross Creek Pictures is financing and no domestic distributor has yet been set. Howard and Grazer just learned that Universal will not move forward with the adaptation of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower that they intend to make with Akiva Goldsman and Javier Bardem. The filmmakers are regrouping and will shop the project elsewhere, with Warner Bros considered a possible landing place.