John Cusack is in final negotiations to join Kevin Spacey in Warner Bros.’ adaptation of “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil,” scheduled to begin shooting with Clint Eastwood directing next month, sources said.
Sources also said that Eastwood’s daughter, Alison Eastwood, is being tapped for a supporting role in the pic, and that up-and-comer Jude Law will play a key role as a local hustler.
The eagerly awaited picture is based on John Berendt’s nonfiction bestseller about a murder in Savannah, Ga.
In the pic, which starts shooting on May 5 in Savannah, Cusack plays John Kelso, a New York journalist who comes to Savannah and is drawn into the lives of the charismatic antiques dealer Jim Williams (Spacey); a local hustler, Savannah’s “walking streak of sex” (Law); and Mandy (Eastwood), a beautiful, free-spirited girl. And in casting sure to please fans of the book, the role of the Lady Chablis, the real-life queen of Savannah’s drag scene, will be played the Lady Chablis herself, sources say.
Essentially, the Kelso character is a fictional, less passive version of the narrator in the book, Berendt himself. Alison Eastwood has appeared in several pics, most recently “Absolute Power,” directed by and starring her father. Winona Ryder and Ashley Judd had been mentioned as possibilities for her role, sources say.
Law co-stars in the upcoming Oscar Wilde biopic “Wilde,” also starring Stephen Fry, and appeared opposite Kathleen Turner in Broadway’s “Indiscretions.”
The pic will be produced by Arnold Stiefel, with Anita Zuckerman as executive producer. In addition to helming the pic, Eastwood has a producing credit with Stiefel. It will be a production of Silver Pictures in association with Stiefel Entertainment and presented by Malpaso Prods.
Stiefel’s company optioned the book in 1994, well before it gained its mass audience and became a mainstay on the New York Times bestseller list. The company later landed a first-look deal with Warner Bros.-based Silver Pictures. Hancock was tapped to write the screenplay, as well as other rewrites. He also wrote Eastwood’s “A Perfect World.”
None of the principals would comment for this story.
Cusack, who stars in “Grosse Pointe Blank” and the upcoming “Con Air,” was repped by John Burnham and Gaby Morgerman at William Morris.
WMA also reps Clint Eastwood and Spacey.