EXCLUSIVE: Final negotiations are underway for John Curran (The Painted Veil) to direct the high-profile indie film Chappaquiddick with Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Everest) to star as the embattled Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Sam Taylor-Johnson (Fifty Shades Of Grey) was previously attached to direct but departed due to scheduling issues with the Netflix pilot Gypsy. She is directing the first two episodes of that. Chappaquiddick will now go before the cameras in late summer.

mary-jo-kopechne-yearbook-jpgThe ripped-from-the-headlines project is about the tragic car accident that took the life of Mary Jo Kopechne when Senator Ted Kennedy was at the wheel in the summer of 1969. After driving off a bridge, the young Kennedy panicked and left the scene of the accident, leaving the 28 year-old Kopechne to drown. Kennedy went home but didn’t report the accident for nine hours. The accident took place on the eve of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

After the accident and over the course of the next week, Kennedy struggled between following his own moral compass or using his power and influence to save his Presidential aspirations and protect the Kennedy family legacy and name.

Chappaquiddick Boston Globe third“Jason Clarke is the perfect choice to take on the complexities of this role,” said producer Mark Ciardi. “He has unwavering passion and commitment to this project. We’re equally pleased to bring on John Curran to direct. John’s body of work speaks for itself, and he’s such a visionary filmmaker. We’re excited to be working with both of them on this incredible film.”

Ciardi is also producing with Campbell McInnes; both work at Apex Entertainment, which is financing the film. DMG’s Chris Cowles and Chris Fenton are executive producing. Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan wrote the screenplay that was on The Black List in 2015.

Clarke is repped by Robert Stein Management and WME. Curran is repped by CAA and attorneys Steve Warren and Barry Littman. Allen and Logan are repped by DMG.