Amblin Partners has closed a deal with Niki Caro (Disney’s upcoming Mulan) to direct Beautiful Ruins. Niki Caro won a DGA award for Netflix’s Anne with an E and two of her actresses have received Oscar nominations for Best Actress – Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider and Charlize Theron for North Country.
In Beautiful Ruins, a charming young man runs a hotel in an Italian seaside village in 1962, a hotel with no guests, until one day an American starlet, fresh from the set of Cleopatra appears and captures his heart. Five decades later in Hollywood, a jaded assistant to a once-powerhouse producer gets caught up in the magic of the Italian’s story, and takes it upon herself to find a happy ending.
In February, Amblin announced that they were re-teaming with Neal Street Productions to make the film, following their collaboration on 1917, which won three Academy Awards and has so far earned $375 million at the worldwide box office.
Based on the New York Times bestseller Beautiful Ruins (check price at Amazon), written by Jess Walter, the script will be written by Mark Hammer (Two Night Stand) and Chiara Atik (Superstore), from an earlier draft by Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster (both, co-writers on A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Transparent).
Neal Street’s Pippa Harris (1917, Call the Midwife), Sam Mendes (1917, Skyfall) and Julie Pastor (1917, Informer) will produce, with Nicolas Brown (Informer, Britannia) executive producing. Amblin Partners’ President of Production, Jeb Brody, will oversee for the studio, along with Mia Maniscalco, VP of Creative Affairs.
Beautiful Ruins is the third project announced by Amblin this month, following a deal for The Mechanic and a “social horror” feature.
Amblin picked up the rights to The Mechanic, a new novella by Ben Mezrich, who wrote the non-fiction books Accidental Billionaires, which was adapted into The Social Network by Aaron Sorkin, and Bringing Down the House, which was adapted as the film 21. He is the author of 22 books in total.
The Mechanic, a work of fiction, is a thriller which was published in serialized form by The Boston Globe, over the course of two weeks in May. An enigmatic card shark looking for an easy score. An ex-con with an inside track on a priceless haul of stolen art. A professor who uncovers a secret that could change the world. The three unwittingly find themselves entangled in a mystery as old as America itself—a mystery that someone is willing to kill for.
Mezrich will adapt his own book for the screen. In addition to his fiction and non-fiction work, Mezrich has been writing as a consulting producer on the most recent season of Showtime’s Billions. Jeb Brody, Amblin’s president of production, and John Buderwitz, creative executive, will oversee the project for the studio.
Amblin also closed a deal for an untitled horror pitch from Dan Berk and Robert Olsen (Villains, Body). Berk and Olsen, whose work as a writer/director duo has centered on genre with comedic horror/thrillers, pitched their project to Amblin as a social horror with a plot, not unlike their Villains (check price at Amazon), best closely guarded for maximum audience enjoyment. Berk and Olsen will write and direct the film together.
Safehouse Pictures’ Joby Harold (John Wick 3, Edge of Tomorrow) and Tory Tunnell (Spinning Out, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword) will produce. Harold and Tunnell have a first-look deal with Amblin and recently announced an untitled show choir project – a feature film based on the inspiring true story of school teacher Lynette Carr-Hicks and her award-winning show choir Rhythm of the Knight.
Matt Schwartz, of Safehouse Pictures, will serve as executive producer. Jeb Brody, Amblin’s president of production, and John Buderwitz, creative executive, will oversee for the studio.