Scott Hicks, who directed Geoffrey Rush to an Oscar in the critically acclaimed “Shine,” has committed to his next film — Universal Pictures’ drama “Snow Falling on Cedars.”

Adapted by Ron Bass from the novel by David Guterson, “Snow Falling on Cedars” is about a Japanese-American man on trial for murder. The story centers on the trial, the accused’s wife and a journalist covering the case who was involved with the wife years earlier. Set on a small island in the Pacific Northwest, the story also explores the effects of prejudice on the judicial system. Bass will produce along with Harry Ufland.

The filmmaker also had been in development on “Arkansas” at DreamWorks and “Secret History” at Warner Bros.

With his commitment to “Cedars,” sources said Hicks may not be involved any longer with “Arkansas.” He will remain in development on “Secret History.”

Although no deal has been set, sources said that Hicks and the studio are anxious to work together on the project and that negotiating a deal should not be a problem.

“Cedars” was brought into the studio in 1996 and eyed for a 1997 start. Hicks has long been interested in bringing the book to the bigscreen and was interested in the property when rights for the book went on the block in January 1996.

CAA’s Beth Swofford and Alan Wertheimer rep both Hicks and Bass.

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