Journeyman plays an immigrant song


The production banner behind "Maria Full of Grace" and "Half Nelson" is prepping "The Girl," a story about immigration and maternal bonding, with Emily Blunt in talks to star.

Paul Mezey's Journeyman Pictures will produce, while HBO Films is circling the project, with the possibility of the shingle financing and producing as it did with "Maria."

David Riker has written the screenplay for "Girl" and is attached to direct. Riker penned the Sundance film "The Sleep Dealer," which took home the dramatic screenwriting award; he also penned the episodic immigrant story "La Ciudad."

Although the script for "Girl" is said to be essentially finished, the project likely won't shoot until after the writers strike, probably in the fall, sources said.

The movie focuses on a Texas woman (Blunt) who finds the young daughter of an illegal immigrant who has become separated from her mother. Saddled with a child she doesn't wish to care for, the woman then searches for the child's mother, a quest that takes her south of the border.

HBO Films could air the movie on the network as well as seek theatrical distribution — as the shingle has done with several of its projects.

Journeyman is in production on "Cold Souls," the Paul Giamatti metaphysical drama produced with Touchy Feely Films, and is developing "The Fortress of Solitude," based on Jonathan Lethem's novel.

HBO Films most recently collaborated with Journeyman on "Sugar," the Journeyman-Hunting Lane production about a Dominican baseball player in the U.S. that played Sundance this year. "Maria" was a crossover hit of sorts, earning an Oscar nom for lead actress Catalina Sandino Moreno.

The HBO label also is in production on the Jay Roach election drama "Recount" and will air the historical miniseries "John Adams" and the Susan Sarandon-Ralph Fiennes vehicle "Bernard & Doris" in the coming weeks.

Blunt, who recently appeared in "Charlie Wilson's War," also is in production on the period royals pic "The Young Victoria."