Manchester By The Sea Oscar winner Casey Affleck is boarding Stoner, a movie from Blumhouse, Cohen Media Group and Film 4 based on the critically acclaimed 1965 novel by John Williams. Joe Wright is set to direct Andrew Bovell’s adapted screenplay.
Affleck plays the title role of William Stoner, a dirt poor farmer-turned-academic who emerges as an unlikely existential hero while making his way through the first half of the 2oth century. In the book, Stoner deals with his pursuit of literature, his workplace politics, marriage to his wife Edith, and an affair with colleague Katherine. Blumhouse optioned Stoner in 2011; the New Yorker called the book “the greatest American Novel you’ve never heard of.”
“Because the novel is so beautiful but not well-known, fans of Stoner feel like they’re in a secret club. I’m so excited that Casey, Joe and Andrew have come aboard to help expand this club’s membership,” Jason Blum said in a statement. “This quintessentially American work is being brought to the screen by a terrific international team, and we’re confident their combined perspectives will add rich layers to this moving story.”
Blum, Charles S. Cohen of CMG and Daniel Battsek of Film4 are producing the film, with Ethan Hawke serving as executive producer. Battsek and Blum brought the project to Film4 for development during Battsek’s time as president of CMG, so he retains a producer credit on what has long been a passion project of his.
Wright is at the onset of what looks to be a great awards season for him with his seventh directorial feature, Darkest Hour, hitting the fall film festival circuit. The pic from Focus Features opens November 22 and stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill leading the charge against Adolf Hitler’s army in the early days of World War II. Wright is repped by CAA.
Bovell is best known for the film Lantana, which he adapted from his award-winning play Speaking In Tongues. He also adapted A Most Wanted Man, from the John le Carré novel of the same name. His writing credits include the film Edge Of Darkness and the award-winning play When the Rain Stops Falling, which played on Broadway in 2010. He is represented by Kate Richter at HLA Management in Australia and Jerry Kalajian at Intellectual Property Group.
Affleck is repped by WME and Ziffren Brittenham.