EXCLUSIVE: James Ward Byrkit has signed with Alex Manugian to write the screenplay for Paramount’s long-gestating thriller Wake. Wake chronicles the high school life and loves of Janie Hannagan, a teen who has the ability to enter other people’s dreams. This project has been trying to find its form since it was first announced in 2010 that Miley Cyrus would play the lead in the MTV Films-distributed adaptation of Lisa McMann’s bestselling 2008 novel. Disturbia co-writer Christopher London had been attached to Wake, the first in a young-adult novel trilogy. Lindsay Williams will produce Wake for Gotham and Jodi Zuckerman-Weiner and Cyrus’ production company Hope Town.
The gig marks the second writing collaboration between Byrkit and Manugian. The Rango story co-writer and Manugian, who handled the voice of Spoons in the 2011 animated pic, worked together on the Byrkit-directed Coherence. A winner at last year’s Fantastic Fest, the indie sci-fi thriller was picked up by Oscilloscope Laboratories at AFM in November, with plans to release it theatrically and online this year. Both Byrkit and Manugian are repped by Gotham Group, with Byrkit also repped by Gersh.