Kristen Lands Lead in Lie Down in Darkness

Hollywoodreporter Kristen landed the lead role in an indie adaptation of William Styron’s 1951 novel, Lie Down In Darkness. Directed by Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper and set in genteel fifties Virginia, Lie Down will have Stewart play Peyton Loftis. As part of a dysfunctional and disintegrating family, Peyton is constantly compared to her crippled sister, Maudie, and her intense physical beauty makes her the object of her frigid mother’s jealous hatred and the target of her father’s incestuous, alcoholic lust. (Stewart will also appear in another fifties-era film, Walter Salles's On the Road, when it's released in the U.S. sometime this fall/winter.)

The part of Peyton had been coveted by Jennifer Lawrence, but Lawrence will spend the better part of the next year shooting sequels. (Catching Fire ignites this fall, while a new X-Men film at Fox commences shooting in January.) Set up at Open Road Films, Darkness has been in development for years by producer Jeff Sharp (You Can Count on Me, Proof) and while it’s unclear how soon it might start production, this is a major casting hurdle cleared.
Meanwhile, less clear is what will become of Universal Pictures’ planned sequel to Stewart’s Snow White and the Huntsman. In April, before the film’s June release, Deadline reported that David Koepp, Hollywood’s go-to screenwriter for blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, and Spider-Man, had been retained to write a script for a Huntsman sequel. “The word is the studio hopes to fast track the project so that Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders can make it the next project he directs,” wrote Deadline. But the sequel’s future has naturally been complicated by Stewart’s admission of an affair (of some sort) with the married Sanders, her director on the film. Could (or would) the two ever reteam? A Universal source insists that “nothing has changed and we are still looking at sequel options that would include Rupert directing.”
Calls to David Koepp were not returned, but as one agency insider noted, it would be highly irregular for a screenwriter of Koepp’s renown to continue work on a project that didn’t have a director attached to oversee its progress to the screen, lending credence to the idea that Sanders remains the intended director. Agency sources say that Universal hasn’t yet sought any other candidates to replace Sanders.
Calls to Snow White and the Huntsman producers Joe Roth and Palak Patel as well as to Sander’s agents also went unreturned; Stewart’s agency declined to comment on her future film plans.

*UPDATED* Hollywoodreporter Scott Cooper ("Crazy Heart") wrote the script and is attached to direct what is described as a Dickensian and Dostoyevsky-like heavy drama.

Kristen Stewart is attached to Lie Down in Darkness, Open Road Media’s planned adaptation of a 1951 William Styron novel, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) wrote the script and is attached to direct what is described as a Dickensian and Dostoyevsky-like heavy drama that charts the rise of a Southern family. The family includes Milton Loftis, a drunken patriarch who lusts after one of his two daughters, a frigid mother and the aforementioned daughters -- one beautiful, the other a cripple.

Stewart would play Peyton, the tragic beauty.

The Twilight star's involvement is only an attachment at this point because the project is not financed and has no start date. Sources say financing likely will hinge on the casting of the male lead. Oscar winner Colin Firth was attached to the part at one point, but that is no longer the case, according to sources.

Stewart is coming off of Snow White & the Huntsman, which was a modest hit for Universal this summer. While the studio has hired David Koepp to write a sequel, it's unclear if that movie would happen before or after Lie Down, should it get financing. Stewart next will be seen in November's The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part II, the final installment of the mega-grossing vampire franchise. She also has On the Road, based on the Jack Kerouac novel, which premiered at Cannes in May but does not have a set release date in the U.S.

UPDATE: A source close to the project cautions that the development is at an early stage. "While its exciting to see all the interest the project is generating, the film is still in the pre-production process and no offers to cast have been made as of yet," says the source.

Vulture first reported Stewart's involvement with the project.

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