Elle Fanning to Star in Neil Gaiman Adaptation 'How to Talk to Girls at Parties' (Exclusive)

John Cameron Mitchell co-wrote the script and will direct the adaptation.
Elle Fanning; John Cameron Mitchell; Neil Gaiman   |   AP Images
John Cameron Mitchell co-wrote the script and will direct the adaptation.

Maleficent star Elle Fanning is attached to star in How to Talk to Girls at Parties, an adaptation of a Neil Gaiman short story that will be directed by John Cameron Mitchell.

Howard Gertler, who received an Academy Award nomination for the documentary How to Survive a Plague, will produce with Gaiman and Mitchell.

The short story, published in 2006, told of two teen boys who go to a party in 1970s London. While one has no trouble scoring a girl right off the bat, the shy one is left to fend for himself and has to find a way to make conversation. He soon finds out that the girls at the party are more than they seem. The story was nominated for a Hugo Award for best short story and won the Locus Award in the same category.

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The script by Philippa Goslett and Mitchell turns Parites into more of a two-hander love story focusing on a schoolboy and ‎punk who uses music and art as a way to escape and a female alien tourist (Fanning) who wants to escape her tour group and explore the most dangerous place in the galaxy, the London suburb of Croydon. 

Michael J. Werner and Winnie Lau of Fortissimo Films are executive producing.

CAA, which packaged the project, is arranging financing and will represent the film’s North American distribution rights.

Mitchell (CAA, Jackson Group Entertainment, Peikoff Mahan) is known for his relationship dramas Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Shortbus. He last directed Rabbit Hole, which starred Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart.

Gaiman (CAA, Writers House, Ziffren Brittenham) is the author of the acclaimed 1990s comic Sandman, which is now in development as a feature at Warner Bros. His novels and award-winning YA and kids book are popular with the Hollywood crowd as well: Gil Netter is producing an adaptation of The Graveyard Book at Disney while FreemantleMedia is developing American Gods for Starz.

Fanning, whose other credits include Super 8 and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is repped by WME, Echo Lake Management and Hansen Jacobson. Maleficent, in which she stars with Angelina Jolie, has grossed over $623 million worldwide.