Cannes: John Lesher Options Lawrence Osborne's 'Beautiful Animals' for Amazon (Exclusive)

John Lesher

The critically acclaimed novel centers on a pair of young, privileged Western women who stumble upon a sleeping Syrian migrant while vacationing on the Greek island of Hydra.

Another critically acclaimed Lawrence Osborne novel is headed towards the big screen.

Oscar-winning producer John Lesher, whose Le Grisbi Productions shingle has a first-look deal at Amazon Studios, has optioned the English author's 2017 book Beautiful Animals, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The psychological thriller centers on a pair of young, privileged Western women who stumble upon a sleeping Syrian migrant while vacationing on the Greek island of Hydra. The novel appeared on the cover of The New York Times Book Review upon its release last summer.

British-Irish director John Michael McDonagh (The Guard) is already underway on an adaptation of Osborne's 2012 novel The Forgiven. IMR International revealed in Cannes this week that Ralph Fiennes and Rebecca Hall are set to co-star in the film.

Lesher remains best known for producing Bird Man and Johnny Depp's Black Mass. His next release will be Studio 8's crime drama White Boy Rick, starring Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Jason Leigh.

Penguin Random House's official summary of Beautiful Animals is as follows: "On a hike during a white-hot summer break on the Greek island of Hydra, Naomi and Samantha make a startling discovery: a man named Faoud, sleeping heavily, exposed to the elements, but still alive. Naomi, the daughter of a wealthy British art collector who has owned a villa in the exclusive hills for decades, convinces Sam, a younger American girl on vacation with her family, to help this stranger. As the two women learn more about the man, a migrant from Syria and a casualty of the crisis raging across the Aegean Sea, their own burgeoning friendship intensifies. But when their seemingly simple plan to help Faoud unravels all must face the horrific consequences they have set in motion."

A version of this story appears in The Hollywood Reporter's May 11 daily issue from the Cannes Film Festival.

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