Thesp to work with Cronenberg on graphic novel adaptation

Viggo Mortensen is set to topline the New Line Cinema thriller “A History of Violence” for helmer David Cronenberg.

Pic, a Josh Olson-scripted adaptation of the Paradox Press graphic novel by John Wagner, will begin production in the fall.

The “Lord of the Rings” star will play a pillar of a small town who runs a diner and lives quietly with his lawyer wife and kids. When he thwarts a robbery and is lauded as a hero in press reports, he is brought to the attention of unsavory types who think he is a former colleague gone underground.

“Viggo established a commercial calling card through ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ but he and David Cronenberg have credibility from all their work in independent and art films, and this will allow us to surround Viggo with terrific actors,” said Toby Emmerich, New Line production prexy, who’s shepherding the pic, along with execs Kent Alterman and Cale Boyter.

“Violence” is being produced by JC Spink and Chris Bender, who are in production at New Line on the Jennifer Lopez-Jane Fonda starrer “Monster-in-Law” and are also prepping “The Other Side of Simple” and “Just Friends” at the studio.

Roger Kass and Josh Braun are exec producers on “Violence.” Bender and Spink also have “Urban Townie” set up at sister company Warner Bros.

Mortensen will make “Violence” before seguing into Spanish helmer Agustin Diaz Yanes’ “Alatriste.”

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