Cuaron raises ‘Children’

Book tells futuristic story of humans unable to reproduce

NEW YORK — Beacon Pictures has hired Alfonso Cuaron to rewrite and direct “Children of Men,” an adaptation of the bestselling P.D. James novel, with an eye toward putting the film into production early next year. Hit & Run Prods. partners Hilary Shor and Tony Smith will produce.

Cuaron most recently wrote and directed the comedy “And Your Mother Too,” which is playing the New York Film Festival this weekend after winning the screenplay prize at the Venice fest.

“Children of Men” is story that repped a departure for the bestselling mystery writer James when she published it in 1993 through Warner Books. The novel takes place at a time in the future when the human race has lost the ability to reproduce. Facing extinction, England has descended into chaos, until an iron-handed warden is brought in to institute martial law. The warden’s ability to keep order is threatened when a woman finds that she is pregnant with what would be the first child to be born in 27 years.

Expectation is that the film will be a vehicle for a big male star to play the role of a history professor who is a former lover of the pregnant woman.

“I love this project because it is so timely in terms of politics and where humanity is going without preaching,” Cuaron said. “At its core, it’s a story about hope.”

Shor and partner Smith set up the tale at Beacon with partner Marc Abraham some time ago, and have been developing it with execs Eric Newman, Steve Asbell and Megan Weiss.

It was initially scripted by Paul Chart, and then rewritten by Mark Fergus and Hawk Otsby. With writing partner Timothy Sexton, Cuaron will tailor it for himself. Shor and Smith, who produced “Eye of the Beholder,” are prepping the Stephan Elliott-directed adaptation of the Ayn Rand novella “The Husband I Bought.”

Cuaron, who has directed “Great Expectations” and “The Little Princess,” is repped by Endeavor and Sexton by Innovative Artists. Phil Altmann negotiated for Beacon.

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