William Hurt On For Winter's Tale

Akiva Goldsman directing

With an end in sight to his seven-year quest to adapt and direct Mark Helprin’s novel Winter’s Tale, writer / producer Akiva Goldsman is deep in the casting phase for the film. William Hurt is the latest name to sign on, landing one of the lead roles. Russell Crowe and Will Smith will also appear onscreen.

The movie already boasts Colin Farrell starring as a thief who breaks into a huge New York mansion and ends up falling for the dying girl (Downton Abbey’s Jessica Brown Findlay) who lives there. Now we’ll also get to meet her father, as Hurt has taken that part.

Goldsman has secured a $46 million budget from Warner Bros. to get his passion project on its feet, no easy job since the sprawling story takes place in both modern day Manhattan and the 19th century version of the city. But he’s been helped in ramping up to direct by cutting his teeth on episodes of Fringe and, notably, by persuading previous collaborators Will Smith and Russell Crowe to take small roles. Assuming everything finally falls into place, the cameras will begin to crank this October on location in the Big Apple.