Huston has 'Kiss' helm for Focus

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Anjelica Huston is headed back to the director's chair for "Give Us a Kiss," an adaptation of a Daniel Woodrell novel for Focus Features. "Junebug" writer Angus MacLachlan is writing the script, which will be produced by Paul L. Sandberg via his company, Ostensible Prods.

The story follows a struggling crime writer named Doyle who travels to his Ozarks hometown to track down his older brother Smoke, who is on the run from the law. There, he falls for Smoke's beautiful stepdaughter before helping Smoke in a criminal enterprise to pay off the law, while keeping a rival neighboring family at arm's length.

Woodrell is known for his "country noir" novels, with "Kiss" having been described as a white trash "Pulp Fiction." One of his novels, "Woe to Live On," was the basis for Ang Lee's "Ride With the Devil."

Huston and Sandberg first worked together on this year's four-hour CBS miniseries "Covert One: The Hades Factor." Huston played the U.S. president in the miniseries, which Sandberg executive produced. It was during that production that Sandberg slipped Huston a copy of the "Kiss" book, which she sparked to.

Huston, repped by ICM, directed "Agnes Browne" and "Bastard Out of Carolina."

Sandberg, one of the producers of the hit "Bourne" action movies, also is producing a big-screen adaptation of Robert Ludlum's "The Sigma Protocol."
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