EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has set Ritesh Batra to direct Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in Our Souls At Night, an adaptation of the Kent Haruf novel. Batra is best known for directing The Lunchbox, the BAFTA nominated 2013 pic that won the Grand Golden Rail award at Cannes. He most recently completed the Charlotte Rampling-Jim Broadbent-starrer The Sense of An Ending. At the same time, they’ve brought on Finola Dwyer to produce alongside Redford and Erin Simms. Dwyer produced Brooklyn, A Quartet and An Education and she was instrumental in bringing Batra into the mix. Simms brought the project into Redford’s Wildwood.
The script is by by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, the scripting team behind (500) Days Of Summer, The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns and The Spectacular Now. Redford and Fonda starred in 1967’s Barefoot in the Park and 1979’s The Electric Horseman, and wanted to work together again. Redford controlled the book and set it up at Netflix last fall, with the streaming service finding another star-driven film to fill an original production slate that includes the upcoming Brad Pitt-starrer War Machine, and the quartet of Adam Sandler films that began with The Ridiculous Six, and TV series that include the Skydance-produced Grace and Frankie with Fonda and Lily Tomlin.
The Colorado-set novel begins as Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they’ve known each other for decades and were friends with their late spouses. Their children live far away and they are all alone in their big houses. She seeks to establish a romantic connection, and make the most of the rest of the time they have. I’m told the vision of the movie is similar in spirit to the Clint Eastwood-Meryl Streep-starrer Bridges of Madison County.
The director is repped by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates, WME and attorney Andre Des Rochers.