EXCLUSIVE: Image Nation Abu Dhabi has come aboard to fully finance James Ponsoldt’s The Circle starring Alicia Vikander and Tom Hanks, Deadline has learned. The project is based on Dave Eggers’ novel about a college graduate (Vikander) who goes to work in an Internet monopoly called the Circle, which links users’ personal emails, social media, banking and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. Once there she becomes involved with a mysterious older man (Hanks). Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s shingle Playtone is producing along with Anthony Bregman’s Likely Story and Ponsoldt as well as Walter Parkes and Laurie Macdonald. IM Global closed a deal last night to handle sales on the project at Cannes. CAA and UTA Independent Film Group are jointly repping domestic rights.
The film will be presented by Image Nation in association with Parkes MacDonald Productions. Shooting on The Circle will start in August in California. Image Nation and Parkes Macdonald also are partnered on the upcoming feature docu He Named Me Malala, directed by Academy Award winner Davis Guggenheim, which will be released worldwide by Fox Searchlight in 2015. The film follows Malala Yousafzai, who was wounded when Taliban gunmen opened fire on her and her friends’ school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
Image Nation also has ramped up its local film and TV productions, with Emirati director Majid Al Ansari making his feature debut with Zinzana, set for release in the UAE this fall. Image Nation also backed Emirati director Ali Mostafa’s From A To B.
“Image Nation’s international projects have helped subsidize and build our local industry here in Abu Dhabi and the region, while creating opportunities for our local talent to work on large scale international productions and this film will help continue that effort,” Image Nation CEO Michael Garin said.
Vikander is currently burning through the cinematic stratosphere with her starmaking turn in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina. Also in the pipeline is Warner Bros’ The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Tom Hooper’s The Danish Girl for Working Title, the Weinstein Co’s Tulip Fever, Derek Cianfrance’s The Light Between Oceans and John Wells’ Adam Jones.
The Circle would mean back-to-back Eggers projects for Hanks following his turn in the Saudi Arabia-set A Hologram For The King.
Vikander is repped by UTA and Tavistock Wood Management in the UK. Ponsoldt is repped by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Frankfurt Kurnit.