Nyswaner to pen historical pic

Paramount Pictures has hired Ron Nyswaner to pen the screenplay for “Dover,” based on the landmark 2005 trial that stopped a Pennsylvania school board from teaching “intelligent design” — i.e., creationism — over evolution.

Lynda Obst is producing for the studio through her Par-based shingle.

The town of Dover, Penn., was torn apart by the trial, which essentially pitted religious faith against Darwinism in explaining the origins of life.

A federal judge ruled intelligent design is a form of creationism, the teaching of which is generally frowned upon, since it brings religion into the classroom.

Stanley Kramer’s 1960 “Inherit the Wind,” starring Spencer Tracy and Frederic March, hinged on much the same topic in its fictionalized retelling of the 1925 Scopes monkey trial.

Nyswaner, who penned upcoming Naomi Watts starrer “The Painted Veil,” said he will rely on trial transcripts, interviews and news coverage in writing the script for “Dover.”

“This story is about the place where faith intersects with science, where what we believe in intersects with what we know. This was a town that was split in half, neighbor against neighbor,” Nyswaner said.

It’s the scribe’s fourth film set in his home state of Pennsylvania, after “Philadelphia,” “Mrs. Soffel” and “The Prince of Pennsylvania.”

Lynda Obst Prods. is working on projects including Steven Spielberg’s “Interstellar,” romantic comedy “Lights Out, Can You Keep a Secret?” and “Further Adventures in Babysitting.”

Nyswaner is repped by UTA.

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