Blumhouse Productions, Cohen Media Group (CMG) and Film4 today announced that Academy Award-winning actor, Casey Affleck has signed on to play the title role of William Stoner in the film adaptation of the celebrated John Williams novel, Stoner.
They also revealed acclaimed British director, Joe Wright will helm the feature and Australian screenwriter, Andrew Bovell is adapting the novel for the screen.
Stoner follows the hardscrabble life 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 20th Century.
Blumhouse optioned the book in 2011. While the New Yorker hails Stoner as 'the greatest American Novel you've never heard of,' its diverse group of ardent admirers include the novelists Bret Easton Ellis and Nick Hornby and the actor Tom Hanks.
Jason Blum said:
"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. 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."
Jason Blum (Blumhouse), Charles S. Cohen (CMG) and Daniel Battsek (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 this one occasion, on what has long been a passion project of his.
Casey Affleck is widely recognized for his indelible portrayals of complicated men. In 2016, his powerful performance as an uncle forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the death of his father in Manchester by the Sea earned him an Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA award. His turn as Robert Ford in The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford opposite Brad Pitt's Jesse James, was widely praised and garnered Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations.
He also played the lead in Gone Baby Gone, the critically-acclaimed film adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel. His credits also include A Ghost Story, Interstellar, To Die For, Good Will Hunting, the Oceans trilogy and the upcoming films The Old Man and the Gun,starring opposite Robert Redford, and his directorial feature Light of My Life, which he wrote and stars in.
Known for his lauded adaptations of classic novels, director Joe Wright's feature film debut, Pride & Prejudice earned him a BAFTA award as Most Promising Newcomer. His follow up effort, Atonement, based on the Ian McEwan novel, received seven Golden Globe nominations, seven Oscar nominations, winning for best original score, and BAFTA awards for best film and production design.
Wright next directed The Soloist followed by the sleeper hit Hanna. In 2012, his ambitious adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina was widely heralded. His directing credits also include Pan, an origin story of the beloved Peter Pan characters, as well as the upcoming film, Darkest Hour starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill leading the charge against Adolf Hitler's army in the early days of World War II.
Playwright and Screenwriter, Andrew Bovell is best known for the film Lantana, which he adapted from his award-winning play Speaking in Tongues. Bovell also adapted A Most Wanted Man, from the John le Carré novel of the same name. His other writing credits include the film Edge of Darkness and the award-winning play When the Rain Stops Falling, which played on Broadway in 2010.
Affleck is represented by WME and Ziffren Brittenham. Wright is representedby CAA. Bovell is represented by Kate Richter at HLA Management in Australia and Jerry Kalajian at International Property Group.