Lenny Abrahamson to Direct Movie Adaptation of Best-Selling Novel 'Room'

Frank Still Maggie Gyllenhaal - H 2013

Frank Still Maggie Gyllenhaal - H 2013

Author Emma Donoghue is writing the screenplay for the Element Pictures production.

LONDON -- Lenny Abrahamson, the director of upcoming Frank, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Fassbender, is set to direct the movie adaptation of the best-selling novel Room by Emma Donoghue.

The book tells the story of Jack, a 5-year-old growing up somewhere in America in an 11-by-11-foot shed he believes to be the whole world; his playful, devoted young mother has shielded him from the truth that they are captives.

The New York Times described Donoghue’s novel as "one of the pure triumphs of recent fiction … palm-sweatingly harrowing."

Armed with a script by author Donoghue, Abrahamson will shoot the movie with Ed Guiney of Irish banner Element Pictures producing.

Shortlisted for a slew of literary prizes, Room has sold two-and-half million copies in English and has been published in 35 other languages.

Abrahamson, who is currently in postproduction on Frank, described Room as "an extraordinary novel. Deeply original, harrowing, full of moments of almost unbearable tension, but also -- and this is what is so special about it -- profoundly life-affirming. From the moment I read it, I wanted to make it for the screen, and so I am truly delighted to be working with Emma on the film adaptation."

Donoghue, a Dubliner who lives in Canada, began writing the screenplay as soon as the book was published.

"It wasn’t just Lenny’s award-winning, impeccably honest films that won me over but a 10-page letter he sent me, describing with passionate intelligence his vision of how to translate my novel into cinema," Donoghue said. "As an Irish company with strong international relationships, Element has a track record of combining artistic integrity and commercial appeal, which gives me confidence that Room is going to be something very special."

Guiney (The Guard, Shadow Dancer), said he can't wait to turn the story into a film.

UTA negotiated the film rights on behalf of the author and publishing agents Kathy Anderson in New York and Caroline Davidson in London.

UTA is also repping North American rights to the film and will work closely with Element on its financing.