'L.I.E.' helmer taking on adaptation of Udall novel

NEW YORK — United Artists has hired Michael Cuesta to direct “The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint,” an adaptation of the Brady Udall novel that is being produced by Single Cell Pictures partners Michael Stipe and Sandy Stern.

Cuesta, whose debut film “L.I.E.” is up for six IFP/West Independent Spirit Awards, will adapt the novel with his brother Gerald. John Irving-esque book concerns a half-Apache youth who gets run over by a mail truck and, after hospitalization, finds a new life in a Mormon foster family.

The cult favorite was pursued by numerous directors; the studio and producers turned to Cuesta who, after a strong career as a commercials director and photographer, teamed with his brother and Stephen Ryder to script “L.I.E.,” a film that was a favorite at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, despite its bleak subject matter.

“L.I.E.” concerns a troubled young Long Islander who robs houses and who finds an unlikely father figure in an unrepentant pedophile (Brian Cox). Pic, distributed by Lot 47, is up for best picture, director and first screenplay prizes in the Spirit Awards.

Cuesta, who’s repped by ICM and Widescreen, also was named best new filmmaker by the Boston Society of Film Critics, and he was nominated for the Independent Feature Project’s Open Palm Award and won director kudos from the Stockholm Film Festival. He has also directed two episodes of the Alan Ball-created HBO series “Six Feet Under.”

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