Akiva Goldsman Adapts Winter's Tale

Exit left, pursued by a bear

Actually despite that subhead this film is nothing to do with Shakespeare: the Winter's Tale to be adapted and directed by Akiva Goldsman is a Manhattan-set novel by Mark Helprin, now officially underway as a feature film at Warner.

Set in a fairytale, fantastical turn-of-the-century New York, the book involves a love story between orphaned Irish burglar Peter Lake and the dying Beverly Penn, inhabitant of an upper-West-Side mansion he targets. Which goes little way to describing a novel that involves vision quests, New York street gangs, guardian angel flying white horses and messianic self sacrifice. Lake also disappears for a number of years, hence the Bard-riffing title.

Goldsman apparently loves the story's fantasy elements, as well as its eulogising of his native New York, which is why he's chosen Winter's Tale as his big-screen directorial debut (although he's directed some episodes of Fringe for TV). A prolific screenwriter - he won an Oscar for A Beautiful Mind, and worldwide fan opprobrium for Batman and Robin - and producer, he's been building to a gig behind the camera for some time, with some sketchy early reports last year even linking him to Paranormal Activity 2 before it went ahead with Tod Williams.

He's being trusted with a not inconsiderable $75m budget for Winter's Tale, which will go before the cameras in the spring of 2012. In the meantime, he's got the small matter of The Dark Tower to contend with...