Yaron Zilberman is set to write and direct a feature based on Orson Scott Card‘s classic science-fiction short story, Unaccompanied Sonata. The property has been optioned by Nick Wechsler, Chockstone Pictures’ Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz and Opening Night Productions. The film will be titled Sonata, with Wechsler, Schwartz, Schwartz and Zilberman producing. The latter made his feature directorial debut on the 2012 film A Late Quartet. Tamar Sela will be executive producer and Roger Schwartz a co-producer.
First published in Omni magazine in 1979, Unaccompanied Sonata is about a child who has been brought up to be a musical prodigy, and who is kept away from other musical influences to keep his creative expressions pure. Raised alone in a cabin by servants, he spends his days toiling on a complicated musical instrument, as he’s kept from listening to the works of others. Finally, he gains exposure to the works of Bach, and when discovered by a “watcher,” the man is torn away from his lifelong composition and barred from making music ever again.
Card most recently saw his famed sci-fi novel Ender’s Game adapted for the screen. He had rebuffed attempts to option this short story, but changed his mind when he saw Zilberman’s music-themed debut A Late Quartet. “I hope I get to see the Zilberman version of Unaccompanied Sonata,” Card said. “It is my best story, in the hands of the only director I know of who could possibly make it live as a visual and musical experience.”
Said Zilberman: “I have always loved this thrilling, poetic and thought-provoking sci-fi story. The short story follows the adventures of an exceptionally gifted musician as he struggles against an unbearable ban from making music, in the face of harsh punishments by a controlling system. I’m eager to bring to life the fascinating maverick protagonist, as well as explore the unique sci-fi concepts central to the story.”
The Schwartzes and Wechsler made The Counselor, and most recently optioned the Olen Stenhauer novel All The Old Knives, the Sascha Arango novel The Truth And Other Lies, and the Peter Swanson novel The Kind Worth Killing.
“We were captivated by Yaron’s film, which we felt was one of the best films of 2012,” they said in a statement. “It gave the viewers a rare and extraordinary insight into the minds and emotions of musicians. Sonata is the perfect follow-up. The leading character has a journey unlike anything we’ve seen before.”
Zilberman, who is separately developing a feature about boxing champ and WWII hero Barney Ross in his battle against heroin addiction, is repped by UTA and attorney Iddo Arad, while Card’s repped by Todd Hoffman and Storied Media Group. Attorney David Fox reps Chockstone Pictures and Wechsler.