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Berlin 2013: 'Shine' Director to Adapt YA Hit 'Fallen' (Exclusive)

Lauren Kate's Fallen Book Cover - P 2013

The gothic fantasy adventure is based on Lauren Kate's best-selling YA book series about fallen angels and forbidden love.

As the movie business scrambles to discover the next Twilight, the long-gestating film adaptation of Lauren Kate's Fallen is gaining momentum.

Australian filmmaker Scott Hicks -- who earned Oscar nominations for writing and directing 1996's Shine -- is in final negotiations to direct Fallen for Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray's Mayhem Pictures and IF Entertainment, Bill Johnson's new financing and sales entity.

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Fallen is the first in a series of four books, which have sold nearly 10 million copies worldwide in more than 30 countries. Kathryn Price and Nicole Millard penned the adapted screenplay in what Mayhem and IF Entertainment hope is the beginning of a franchise.

Billed as a Southern gothic supernatural romance, Fallen revolves around 17-year-old Lucinda "Luce" Price, who is sent to a reform school in Savannah, Ga., after she is accused of starting a fire that leaves a young boy dead. Soon, Luce finds herself in the middle of a love triangle – courting two young men with dark secrets of their own.

On a quest to uncover secrets from her past, the shy Luce discovers the two are fallen angels, competing for her love for centuries. Luce must choose where her feelings lie, pitting heaven against hell in an epic battle over true love.

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IF began shopping the movie adaptation to foreign buyers at the American Film Market in November, and Fallen drew heated interest -- even without a director or cast. The addition of Hicks, whose credits also include The Lucky One and No Reservations,  should make Fallen all the more appealing as IF continues shopping the project at the European Film Market in Berlin.

Kate's books have been translated into more than 30 languages, with Fallen spending a year-plus on The New York Times best-seller list after its release in 2009. The three subsequent books -- Torment, Passion and Rapture -- also were best-sellers.

Mayhem originally set up the project at Disney, but it was put into turnaround.

Hicks is repped by CAA, which is repping domestic rights for the film.

Email: Pamela.McClintock@THR.com; Twitter: @PamelaDayM