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Miley Cyrus eyes starring role in 'Wake' thriller

THR EXCLUSIVE

On the verge of her 18th birthday, Miley Cyrus may be taking a step into the darkness.

The Disney princess is attached to star in an adaptation of Lisa McMann's young-adult paranormal thriller novel "Wake" for Paramount Pictures and MTV Films, which are picking up film rights to the property. "Disturbia" co-writer Christopher Landon will adapt the book for the screen.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lindsay Williams of The Gotham Group ("The Spiderwick Chronicles") are producing along with Jodi Zuckerman and Tish Cyrus of Hope Town Entertainment and Steven Schneider and Jason Blum ("Paranormal Activity"). The producer deals are still being finalized.

Paramount exec Ashley Brucks is overseeing for the studio, and Gotham's Eddie Gamarra will be an executive producer.

"Wake" is the first of three novels written by McMann about a 17-year-old girl named Janie with the unwanted ability to become sucked into people's dreams. Not surprisingly, she sees things she would rather not see. But when she gets pulled into a terrible nightmare, Janie dangerously goes from mere witness to participant.

The edgy sequels, "Fade" and "Gone," detail her investigations with boyfriend Cabel into the perverse activities of teachers at their school and the difficult fate that lies ahead for her. Paramount and MTV Films are grabbing rights to the entire series -- all of which have been New York Times best-sellers -- with the desire to spark a franchise.

Cyrus, who is repped by CAA and Jason Morey, most recently starred in the Disney films "Hannah Montana: The Movie" and "The Last Song," which together grossed $230 million worldwide. She also performed the lead voice role in the 2008 animated film "Bolt," also from Disney.

In recent months, the pop icon has fielded some criticism for displaying more overt sexuality at her live performances. Cyrus has repeatedly professed her comfort with the way she presents herself and her body, so moves into more mature material in her film career would seem to be a natural part of that progression. Her ultimate commitment to "Wake" rests on the finished script.

Repped by Mosaic, Landon co-wrote the films "Another Day in Paradise," "Blood and Chocolate" and "Disturbia," and he was a writer-consulting producer on the ABC series "Dirty Sexy Money." He also recently wrote and directed the film "Burning Palms."

McMann is repped by the Gotham Group, which is next producing the Taylor Lautner-toplined thriller "Abduction" for Lionsgate.