'Memento' director to work on magic movie

“Memento” helmer Chris Nolan will next tackle the world of magicians.

Nolan will direct “The Prestige,” an adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel that has been packaged by Newmarket.

Disney and Warner Bros. are in negotiations to split distribution rights.

The script was written by Jonathan Nolan, Chris’ brother who wrote the story that formed the basis for “Memento.” The story begins in 1878, as a seance hatches a bitter rivalry between two young stage magicians. The film was shopped with a complete script and a projected budget north of $40 million range, and it’s ready to go. Jude Law is already being whispered as a potential participant.

Nolan will produce with Newmarket exec Aaron Ryder and with Emma Thomas. Executive producers are Newmarket principals Will Tyrer and Chris Ball with Valerie Dean.

Nolan is expected to next direct “Batman,” a franchise he is in the process of resurrecting at WB with screenwriter David Goyer. The scripting has begun, and because development of superhero epics never moves as fast as a speeding bullet, “The Prestige” could step in front of it.

In the configuration that is being negotiated by Nolan’s UTA reps and Newmarket, Disney would handle domestic distribution and Warner Bros. would handle foreign.

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