EXCLUSIVE: The Spectacular Now helmer James Ponsoldt is negotiating to adapt and direct West Of Sunset, an adaptation of the Stewart O’Nan novel for Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. SKE is negotiating both to option the book and make a deal with the filmmaker, after the package was shopped this week.
The intention is for this to come down the line and certainly doesn’t get in front of The Circle, the big Cannes package that has Tom Hanks set to star, but which lost Ex Machina‘s Alicia Vikander. As Deadline revealed last week, Vikander is eyeing Assassin’s Creed and then the female lead of the next installment of The Bourne Identity with Paul Greengrass directing and Matt Damon starring. The Circle, which Ponsoldt adapted from the Dave Eggers novel, is on offer to Emma Watson.
This would be another author-centric project for Ponsoldt, who directed A24’s David Foster Wallace pic The End Of The Tour which comes out in theaters July 31.
West Of Sunset has been called a novelized biography of The Great Gatsby author when he came to Hollywood to start anew as a screenwriter in 1937. At the time he was a troubled man in poor health, with his finances in tatters and his wife in a mental asylum. His Hollywood foray didn’t go well, and he would die in 1940. The novel cleverly juxtaposed his time on the MGM lot with flashbacks to his early days as a literary lion. It intersperses characters from Dorothy Parker to Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart. It was during that Hollywood foray where Fitzgerald wrote most of his last unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon. Sidney Kimmel will produce and Carla Hacken will be exec producers.
Ponsoldt is repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Sylvie Rabineau is brokering the book deal.