Director takes on 'Babel'

British theater and film helmer John Crowley has signed on to direct the drama “The Dogs of Babel” for Mandate Pictures.

“We Are Marshall” scribe Jamie Linden has been tapped to adapt the bestselling novel, which centers on a linguistics professor who returns home one day to find his wife dead in their backyard. In an effort to uncover what happened, he attempts to teach the couple’s dog — the only witness to her death — to talk.

Mandate is fast-tracking the film, which is being produced by David Heyman of Heyday Films, and Corey May and Dooma Wendschuh of Sekretagent Prods. Nathan Kahane and Tiffany Daniel are exec producing, with Nicole Brown and Tendo Nagenda overseeing for Mandate.

“I am thrilled to be working with John again,” said Heyman, who produced Crowley’s “Is There Anybody There?” which stars Michael Caine and is in post-production. “His passion and sensitivity for this material makes him the perfect choice to direct.”

Mandate’s films range from “Juno” to the “Harold & Kumar” films. The financing and production company’s upcoming slate includes the Michael Cera starrer “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist”; “Passengers,” with Anne Hathaway; and “Peacock,” starring Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page and Susan Sarandon.

Crowley, whose first film was the Colin Farrell starrer “Intermission,” recently earned a BAFTA Award for directing “Boy A,” which made its U.S. premiere at Tribeca. He is also a Tony Award-nommed director whose credits include a staging of Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman.”

Linden is adapting the Nicholas Sparks bestseller “Dear John” for Screen Gems and Relativity Media.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more