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Supernatural Romance 'Dan and Sam' in the Works at Universal (Exclusive)

Japanese director Hikari is on board to direct the adaptation of the graphic novel published by Picador.
Hikari (left), Molly Smith Metzler   |   Courtesy of Hikari Films; John Lamparski/WireImage; PanMacmillan
Japanese director Hikari is on board to direct the adaptation of the graphic novel published by Picador.

Universal is going on a date with a ghost.

The studio is developing Dan and Sam, a supernatural romance based on the 2015 graphic novel of the same name by Mark Watson and Oliver Harud.

Hikari, the filmmaker behind the Berlin International Film Festival award winner 37 Seconds, will direct the adaptation, which will be penned by Molly Smith Metzler, who has written on Shameless and Orange Is the New Black.

Marc Platt and Adam Siegel will produce through Universal-based Marc Platt Productions, alongside Brian Kavanaugh-Jones and Fred Berger, who will produce through Automatik Entertainment.

Dan and Sam tells of a young couple who have it all, until the woman, Sam, dies unexpectedly. Dan, however, discovers that love transcends the physical world when Sam is allowed to visit him one night a year. But there’s a catch: It’s only until he falls in love again.

The project was previously set up at Amblin.

Automatik’s Rian Cahill will executive produce. Universal's senior vp production Sara Scott and director of development Lexi Barta will oversee the project on behalf of the studio. Ryan Christians will oversee on behalf of Marc Platt Productions.

Hikari, who hails from Japan, wrote, directed and co-produced 37 Seconds, her debut feature, which won two awards at the 2019 Berlinale, including the Panorama Audience Award. It went on to screen at the Tribeca Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, with Netflix acquiring the film and releasing it earlier this year.

Metzler is already writing a project for Universal, the adaptation of coming-of-age best-seller The Thing About Jellyfish, which landed on the 2017 Black List. Additionally, her adaptation of Stephanie Land’s award-winning novel Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive was recently greenlit to series at Netflix, with Metzler acting as creator and showrunner. She is also executive producing alongside Margot Robbie and John Wells.

Hikari is repped by WME, Grandview and Jackoway Tyerman. Metzler is repped by Grandview and McKuin Frankel. The deal for the graphic novel was brokered by Luke Speed of Curtis Brown Group.

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