CANNES — U.K.-based auteur Pawel Pawlikowski’s first American project, “Vernon God Little,” has taken a big step toward production in 2007, with Mike White and Jack Black’s Black & White Prods coming aboard to co-produce, and Big Beach Films joining FilmFour to co-finance the movie.
The $8 million project is based on DBC Pierre’s Booker Prize-winning comic novel about a 15-year-old Texas boy who becomes the scapegoat for a high school massacre.
Pawlikowski, a Polish-born former doc-maker who won BAFTAs for his first two features, “Last Resort” and “My Summer of Love,” has already been working on the adaptation for a couple of years with FilmFour and producers Aimee Peyronnet and Tanya Seghatchian.
But he will now be joined by two U.S. writers, Abdi Nazemian and Micah Schraft (“The Quiet”), to come up with a script to shoot next year.
They will also work closely with White, a longtime fan of Pawlikowski who also previously tried to acquire the rights to “Vernon God Little.”
The involvement of Black & White signals that this project is being pitched as a more accessible comedy than Pawlikowski’s previous arthouse movies.
It also represents a significant departure from Pawlikowski’s usual working method, which consists of improvisation based on a script outline
Marc Turteltaub and Peter Saraf’s Big Beach, which bankrolled “Little Miss Sunshine” and “Everything Is Illuminated,” will co-finance the development with FilmFour, and has committed to fund the production up to a budget of $8 million.
Pawlikowski is currently in the midst of shooting “The Restraint of Beasts,” based on Magnus Mills’ novel, for BBC Films, which also backed his first two movies.