Niccol framing 'Dali' for Room 9


Andrew Niccol is attached to direct "Dali & I: The Surreal Story," a film from Room 9 Entertainment about Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali that will serve as the company's follow-up to the successful political satire "Thank You for Smoking."

Room 9 originally acquired "Dali" as a spec written by John Salvati, based on Stan Lauryssens' autobiographical book "Dali and I." Niccol is doing a rewrite on the script and the company is eyeing a shoot next spring.

Room 9's David O. Sacks, Daniel Brunt and Michael R. Newman will produce.

The movie will cover the life of Dali through the eyes of Lauryssens, a young art dealer who knew Dali and his wife Gala. The movie will span the 1960s-1980s, covering Dali's later period when most of this great work was behind him while he became more flamboyant, and focusing on a mentor-protege relationship between Dali and Lauryssens.

"What I think is interesting about this period in his life is that he painted less and sold more, just as modern art became more commercialized," said Sacks. "There are pictures of him turning his mustache into dollar signs. He became very obsessed by money and this was spurred on by Gala."

Gala, a Russian immigrant 11 years his senior, was his muse and inspiration and the artist was very dependent on her though their relationship was tempestuous.

"We don't want to do another artist biopic," said Sacks. "We want this to ask questions like 'What is modern art? Does it have value? Is it worth the millions of dollars that people are paying for?' "

"Dali" will be overseen at Room 9 by Brunt and Newman, who were both promoted to partnership positions at the company. They now serve as co-presidents and will continue building a slate of films that they will develop and produce with Sacks. Sacks remains CEO of the company, as well as a financial backer.

Niccol is the filmmaker behind "Gattaca," "Simone" and last year's "Lord of War." He also wrote "The Truman Show," which garnered him an Oscar nomination for best original screenplay. He is repped by CAA and attorney John LaViolette.