EXCLUSIVE: Finding Neverland, World War Z and The Kite Runner director Marc Forster has been set to direct Oscar winner Tom Hanks in the anticipated U.S. adaptation of Swedish comedy hit A Man Called Ove, we can reveal.
Two-time Oscar nominee David Magee (Life Of Pi, Mary Poppins Returns) is scripting the project and re-uniting with Forster after their collaboration on acclaimed drama Finding Neverland, for which both were BAFTA nominated.
Production is due to begin this year on the feature which has been in the works for a few years and is based on the Swedish hit novel by Fredrik Backman. The life affirming comedy about love and unexpected friendships sold more than seven million copies worldwide and remained on the New York Times bestseller list for 77 consecutive weeks at the time of its release.
The novel was subsequently adapted for the big screen by SF Studios and released in 2015, garnering two Oscar nominations. The charming pic was the highest-grossing foreign language film in the U.S. in 2016.
Fredrik Wikström Nicastro of Nordic major SF Studios is producing with Rita Wilson (Mamma Mia!), and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman. Forster will serve as executive producer alongside Renée Wolfe via their production company 2DUX2.
Screen icon Hanks is in production on Apple series Masters Of The Air, Robert Zemeckis’s Pinocchio, Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City and Biz Luhrmann’s Elvis biopic.
Forster stated: “When I first read Fredrik Backman’s novel, I fell in love with the notion that friendship has the power to shape a person’s life. I can’t wait to create a film with so much humor and heart alongside Tom and Rita.”
Rita Wilson commented: “Fredrik Backman wrote a novel that has entertained, moved and inspired countless readers through his character of “Ove”. The humanity of the story has resonated with people all over the world, including myself. I have always looked for films that bring people joy and, hopefully, create a common experience of recognizing ourselves in others. It’s an honor to be producing this movie and to be bringing it to audiences everywhere.”
SF Studios is in the works on projects including Swedish film adaption The Emigrants, the Danish epic drama Margrete Queen of the North, the Norwegian feature film Quisling and the Swedish original series Snabba Cash for Netflix. Previous international releases include Borg vs. McEnroe starring Sverrir Gudnasson and Stellan Skarsgård and the thriller Horizon Line starring Allison Williams and Alexander Dreymon.
Fredrik Wikström added: “Marc has made many films we love. His unique ability to tell human stories that strongly connect with audiences, makes him the perfect filmmaker to helm this beloved story. We couldn´t be more excited to have him and David Magee on board – bringing their magic to screens again, following their successful collaboration on Finding Neverland.”
Michael Porseryd, CEO at SF Studios said: “Both the novel and the Swedish film adaptation of A Man Called Ove were huge successes due to the poignant and timeless story of love, loss, family and friendships. To now have the opportunity to create a US adaptation with this high calibre of cast, producers and the incredibly versatile and skilled Marc Forster at the helm is a dream! It is a fantastic milestone for SF Studios in our 102-year history as a film studio.”