Schlesinger to make ‘Mirth’

John Schlesinger is set to direct Dustin Hoffman in “The House of Mirth,” which will be a co-production between Hoffman’s Punch Prods. and Village Roadshow. The project was announced earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival.

“The House of Mirth” was adapted by Ken Russell from the 1905 Edith Wharton novel. The story follows a wealthy 29-year-old beauty who wants to marry a rich man but is in love with a poor man. She winds up losing everything in a scandal when she’s identified as the mistress of a wealthy man. Hoffman plays Simon Rosedale, a wealthy Jewish businessman who wants to marry the woman.

The film will be financed by Village Roadshow and produced by Hoffman, Punch’s Jay Cohen and Lee Gottsegen, with Acapella Pictures’ Charles Evans Jr. and Carroll Kemp.

Hoffman has two previous Barry Levinson projects in line: the modestly budgeted “Wag the Dog” at New Line Cinema, which also stars Robert DeNiro, and the bigscreen adaptation of Michael Crichton’s “Sphere” for Warner Bros. Hoffman is repped by CAA’s Richard Lovett and Tory Metzger.

Schlesinger, who last directed the critical favorite “Cold Comfort Farm” for Gramercy Pictures, is currently in production on Hallmark’s production of “Sweeney Todd” for Showtime, starring Ben Kingsley. Schlesinger is repped by UTA’s Peter Benedek.

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