Williams, Collette hear call of 'Listener'
Robin Williams and Toni Collette will star in the adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s novel “The Night Listener” for Hart Sharp Entertainment.“The Business of Strangers” helmer Patrick Stettner will direct the pic, which goes into production next month in and around Gotham. Collette is in final negotiations. Sandra Oh, Rory Culkin and Joe Morton are also in talks to join the cast. “Night Listener” is the story of a popular radio show host who, while trying to cope with a splintering romance, strikes up a telephone relationship with his biggest fan. When disturbing questions arise regarding the boy’s identity, his life spins out of control. The screenplay was adapted by Maupin, best known for his series of “Tales of the City” novels, along with Terry Anderson and Stettner. “Night Listener” was inspired by an experience shared by Maupin and other public figures. After the publication of “Night Listener,” the story behind the book’s inspiration was documented by journalist Tad Friend in the 2001 New Yorker article “Virtual Love.” “This story was a gift from the gods,” Maupin said. “I’ve always wanted to write what I thought of as a thriller of the heart. It’s based around a central mystery but deals with issues of love and longing. I was really living the mystery and, at the same time, trying to pretend that it didn’t happen to me.” The film is financed through Hart Sharp’s True Film Fund II. UTA reps Hart Sharp with respect to the pic’s distribution. Producers are John Hart, Jeffrey Sharp, Robert Kessel and Jill Footlick. Maupin, Anderson and Michael Hogan are executive producers. Maupin also adapted the first three books from his bestselling “Tales of the City” series for features that were produced by Channel 4 and American Playhouse and, later, Showtime.In addition to the upcoming Miramax Films release “Proof,” Hart Sharp’s production credits include “Boys Don’t Cry,” “You Can Count on Me,” “P.S.” and “A Home at the End of the World.”