Helmer Cole adopts 'Strange' story

Revolution Studios has set Nigel Cole to direct “Strange Son,” the Bruce Joel Rubin-scripted true story of a mother’s quest to communicate with her autistic son.

Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas is producing for Julia Roberts’ production company, Red Om. Deborah Schindler will exec produce.

Pic is based on a book written by Portia Iverson, wife of producer Jon Shestack, about her son Dov, now 13. In the book, to be published next year by Riverhead Press, Iverson tells how she researched autism to find a way to break through the wall that kept her son from communicating with her.

She stumbled across a woman in India who had devised a rapid prompting technique.

Iverson began using the technique, — which consists of a series of touches that allows an autistic child to drown out the static in his brain, to focus and communicate by touching letters and writing words — to achieve the couple’s goal of communicating with their son.

Shestack and Iverson formed Cure Autism Now, an organization that in a decade has raised $27 million for autism research and has been key in recruiting scientists to study the disease. While there were only 12 scientists studying autism full-time when the foundation began, there are now 500.

The film concentrates on the bond established by Iverson and her India-based counterpart, Soma Mukhopadhyay.

Cole, who helmed “Calendar Girls” and most recently directed “A Lot Like Love” and “Saving Grace,” read the draft by “Ghost” scribe Rubin and pursued the project aggressively. The director will supervise the next draft of the script. Shestack and Iverson will be exec producers.

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