Oscar winner to star in DreamWorks drama

Jamie Foxx is set to star in “The Soloist,” a DreamWorks drama to be directed by Joe Wright.

Project is based on the true story of musical prodigy Nathaniel Ayers, who developed schizophrenia in his second year at Juilliard and ended up homeless on the streets of downtown L.A. where he performs the violin and cello.

Susannah Grant (“Erin Brockovich”) wrote the script.

Shooting will begin in January, mostly in Los Angeles. Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff are producing through their Krasnoff/Foster banner. Rikki Bestall is co-producing, and Tim Bevan is exec producer.

The drama is based on the relationship the musician developed with Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times reporter whose column informed the script, as did a book Lopez is writing that Putnam will publish in the spring. Lopez will be a major character in the film, and that role is about to be cast.

Wright appeared on the Hollywood radar after directing the Keira Knightley starrer “Pride & Prejudice.” He followed with “Atonement,” starring Knightley and James McAvoy, which opens the upcoming Venice Film Festival.

Foxx, a classically trained pianist, is being taught stringed instruments by a cellist with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, an entity that figures in the plot of the film.

Foxx next will be seen starring in Peter Berg-directed drama “The Kingdom” for Universal.

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