Director John N. Smith, whose credits include the hit “Dangerous Minds” and the critically acclaimed “The Boys of St. Vincent,” is set to helm “A Cool Dry Place” for Laura Ziskin’s Fox 2000.

Katie Jacobs and Gail Mutrux are producing the drama, which screenwriter Matthew McDuffie adapted from Michael Grant Jaffe’s debut novel “Dance Real Slow.”

The tale is about a part-time lawyer whose wife walks out on him and their 4-year-old son. Father and son leave the city for rural Kansas, where the man finds a new love. Later, the boy’s mother comes to the country to reclaim her son.

Smith’s “Dangerous Minds” made over $200 million worldwide. The Canadian filmmaker made numerous documentaries before shifting to features. “The Boys of St. Vincent” took the Telluride Film Festival by storm in 1993.

The lead in “A Cool Dry Place” has piqued the interest of several performers, including Chris O’Donnell.

Fox 2000 executive vice president Kevin McCormick repped the studio on the deal with Smith. The director’s deal was brokered by International Creative Management’s Robert Newman and Ralph Zimmerman as well as attorney Debbie Klein.

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