Crowe and Smith board scribes directing debut.

Oscar-winning screenwriter Akiva Goldsman (‘A Beautiful Mind,’ ‘Cinderella Man,’ ‘I Am Legend’) has landed Russell Crowe and Will Smith for supporting roles in his directorial debut ‘Winter’s Tale,’ an adaptation of Mark Helprin’s 1983 magical-realism novel.

“Set in both nineteenth-century and present-day Manhattan, the novel is about a petty thief who falls in love with the dying girl who inhabits the house he’s just burgled and the gangster boss bent on killing him.”

Crowe is believed attached to the role of Pearly Soames, the gangster boss, while Smith would take the role of a judge. According to Vulture, Goldsman “called in every favour he had” to nab the actors.

First announced last year, the project stalled due to financial issues. Now with Goldsman having reportedly shaved $20 million off the original budget and enlisting both Crowe and Smith, the project is back on track and likely to begin shooting as early as September or October of this year.

 

Amazon’s synopsis for Helprin’s ‘Winter’s Tale’:

“New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake–orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side.

Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying.

Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.”