Ever since it was announced that Warner Bros. had green-lit Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of the fantasy book ‘Winter’s Tale’ for a feature film, not much more has been heard on it. Goldsman has been hoping that this film would be his directorial debut into features but marred by budget concerns from the studio, the film has lain stagnant. But now, thanks to Will Smith and Russell Crowe, the movie is moving forward towards being made.
Vulture is reporting that Will Smith and Russell Crowe have signed on for supporting roles in the film. Both actors have worked with Goldsman before as he wrote the script for ‘I Am Legend’ starring Smith and ‘Cinderella Man’ starring Crowe. According to sources, Goldsman had “called in every favor he had” to get the two to appear in the film.
Crowe will play Pearly Soames, the gangster boss that is after the lead character while Smith will appear as a judge in the film. Goldsman has really been working hard towards getting the film into production and has even shaved off $20 million from the budget. It’s hoped that with the new budget and with Smith and Crowe attached, production can start sometime in September or October of this year.
‘Winter’s Tale’ is based on the book by Mark Helprin. It’s set in both the 19th century and present day Manhattan and is about a petty thief who breaks into a house he thinks is empty and comes face to face with the dying girl who lives there. The thief is also trying to get away from the gangster boss (Crowe) who is trying to kill him. Oh! And there’s also a white flying horse that can jump over 5 New York City blocks at a time!
Here’s the official description from Amazon:
New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake–orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying. Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.
The two main characters in the story, Peter Lake and Beverly Penn, have not been cast yet, but if the film does start production in the fall as people are speculating, news of who will play them should be revealed soon. Goldsman has a lot of experience with the sci-fi world as both a writer (‘Fringe’, I Am Legend,’ ‘I, Robot’) and executive producer so this seems like a great platform for him as a jump into directing movies. As this seems to be a project close to his heart, I’m excited to see what he can bring to the big screen.