Kruger to adapt remake of Japanese urban legend

Hot off an acclaimed performance in David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive,” Naomi Watts will next star in “The Ring,” the Gore Verbinski-directed DreamWorks remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film “Ringu.”

The original was based on a series of novels by Suzuki Koji about a journalist who is investigating an urban legend about a cursed videotape said to kill anyone who views it. The film broke Japanese box office records, and DreamWorks paid $1 million to outbid Disney for the remake rights, with Ehren Kruger adapting the script.

Verbinski agreed to make the film his follow-up to the DreamWorks comedy “The Mexican,” and with few studios greenlighting films, “The Ring” has been a focus of intense competition as young actresses vied for the lead.

Watts is a relative newcomer who toplined “Mulholland Drive” when it was originally conceived to be the pilot for a series by “Twin Peaks” impresario Lynch. When that plan stalled, Lynch turned it into a feature instead. The movie won him director kudos at the Cannes Film Festival.

For Watts, the film is a potential star-making turn.

Watts’ reps at CAA and Untitled Entertainment are negotiating a deal that will have her sized for “The Ring” as soon as she completes “Plots With a View,” a comedy starring Alfred Molina, Christopher Walken and Brenda Blethyn.

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