Ryder to star in, co-produce pic of novel

Lining up its second film project with actress Winona Ryder, Fox 2000 has optioned Aussie novelist Marele Day’s upcoming “Lambs of God,” which the actress will topline and co-produce.

The novel was brought to Fox 2000 by producer Ross Bell under his exclusive deal with the Fox film division. Bell will produce with Ryder and her manager Carol Bodie. The trio formerly teamed up on another Fox 2000 project, “Roustabout,” based on the novel by Michelle Chalfoun. Ryder is attached to star in “Roustabout,” with Bodie and Bell taking on producing chores.

Fox 2000 exec VP Kevin McCormick will oversee development of “Lambs.”

Philosophical battle

“Lambs of God” tells the story of three women, descendants of an order of nuns, who live in an abandoned monastery on a tropical island. Their ordered and secluded lives are put into turmoil when a priest shows up to reclaim the monastery for the Catholic church. The ensuing story involves the philosophical battle between the women, who wish to continue their peaceful lives on the island, and the priest, a man of modern technology and ideology.

Two-time Oscar nominee Ryder is attached to play the youngest woman, who was raised on the island and knows nothing of the modern world or of men.

Ryder recently starred in the Nicholas Hytner-helmed “The Crucible” and co-stars in the upcoming Jean-Pierre Jeunet film “Alien: Resurrection,” both for Fox.

Preemptive offer

Several studios were said to be interested in the project, but with Ryder attached, Fox 2000 made a preemptive offer for the novel.

“Lambs of God” will be published next year by Riverhead Books.

Jerry Kalajian of the Becsey, Wisdom, Kalajian agency repped the book on behalf of Day’s New York lit agent Elaine Markson.

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