Niki Caro, the director of Disney’s forthcoming live-action remake of “Mulan,” has signed on to direct an adaption of Spokane author Jess Walter’s bestselling novel “Beautiful Ruins,” the studios set to produce the film announced Tuesday.
“It’s nice to know that it’s moving forward again,” Walter said Tuesday, referencing earlier deals to develop the book into a movie that didn’t materialize. “I’m really excited to have her (Caro’s) version of the story.”
While Walter worked on an early version of the script, the most recent version was written by Mark Hammer and Chiara Atik, building on an earlier draft by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster.
“I think the script is terrific,” Walter said. “It feels, if anything, even more loyal to the book.
“So, as the author, that’s always the thing you look for – a script that makes you feel like you get the same experience as from the book.”
Set in an Italian seaside village in 1962 and published in 2012, “Beautiful Ruins” follows the story of a charming young man who runs a chronically vacant hotel. One day, an American actress walks off the set of the film “Cleopatra” and into his heart. Fifty years later, the man’s story inspires a prominent Hollywood producer’s jaded assistant to find its happy ending.
“Beautiful Ruins” has been in development in one form or another since 2013.
It went into preproduction in 2014, but plans came to a halt soon after, moving the film back into development status.
In 2016, Sam Mendes, director of “1917” and “American Beauty,” came on board to continue developing the adaptation with Fox 2000 Pictures.
Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Productions, which teamed with Mendes’ Neal Street Productions to produce “1917,” took over the development of “Beautiful Ruins” in February.
“Sam and I can think of no better home than Amblin for the wildly romantic and cinematic ‘Beautiful Ruins,’ ” said Pipp Harris, co-founder of Neal Street Productions, in an interview with Deadline. “The entire Amblin team were the most brilliant partners on ‘1917,’ and we are thrilled they share our passion for this film.”
Before signing on to make “Mulan,” which is slated for an Aug. 21 release, Caro directed numerous TV shows and films, including “Whale Rider” (2002), “McFarland, USA” (2015) and “The Zookeeper’s Wife” (2017). ..
“Beautiful Ruins” is in development, with its release date still to be announced.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.