WIP turns Green with 2 projects


David Gordon Green is in final negotiations to write and direct a screen adaptation of John Grisham's nonfiction book "The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town" for Warner Independent Pictures and George Clooney and Grant Heslov's production company Smoke House.

In a separate development, WIP also has nabbed worldwide rights, excluding Spain, Mexico, Latin America and a few smaller territories, to Green's dark domestic drama "Snow Angels," starring Kate Beckinsale and Sam Rockwell. "Snow" premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Grisham's "Innocent Man," which was published in October by Doubleday, tells the true story of Ron Williamson, a man wrongly convicted of murder who spent more than 10 years on death row in Oklahoma. WIP and Smoke House bought rights to the book in December.

The Grisham deal solidifies Green's move from small indie features — the critically acclaimed "George Washington," "All the Real Girls" and "Undertow" — to working with name talent.

"Snow" is an adaptation of Stewart O'Nan's 1993 novel. Beckinsale and Rockwell play Annie and Glenn, a separated couple in a small town whose lives take a turn for the worse after Annie begins an affair with the husband (Nicky Katt) of her best friend (Amy Sedaris).

"David is a really gifted filmmaker," WIP president Polly Cohen said. "We are excited to be working with him and look forward to a long relationship."

WIP plans to release "Snow," produced for less than $5 million, next year.

"Snow" was produced by Crossroads Films principal Dan Lindau and head of production Paul Miller as well as Green's longtime producer Lisa Muskat and Cami Taylor.

Paul Federbush, senior vp production and acquisitions at WIP, negotiated the "Snow" deal on behalf of the distributor, with Cinetic Media representing the filmmakers.

The "Snow" deal also helped paved the way for Green's involvement in "Innocent Man."

Lindau optioned rights to O'Nan's novel from Gernert Co. head David Gernert five years ago. He initially planned to work with another unnamed director, who ran into a scheduling conflict, and passed the book to Green. When Lindau called Green to ask what he thought of it, "He said, 'I wrote it already,' " Lindau recalled.

"Snow" is Green's first screenplay adaptation.

Gernert also serves as Grisham's literary agent and editor. After Lindau optioned "Snow" from Gernert, he later told Gernert how much he liked the experience of working with Green.

Green is repped by CAA and the Gotham Group.