WB, Imagine raising ‘Banner’

Howard to direct Black's adaptation of Mormon murder tale

Warner Bros. is coming on board to develop Jon Krakauer’s tome “Under the Banner of Heaven” with Imagine Entertainment producing, Ron Howard directing and Dustin Lance Black writing the adaptation.

Sarah Schechter will oversee “Banner of Heaven” for Warners.

Producers are Imagine toppers Howard and Brian Grazer along with Shannon Costello, Jason Bateman and Stephanie Davis with Imagine’s Erica Huggins exec producing. Imagine confirmed the project Tuesday.

Krakauer’s non-fiction book, published in 2003, centers on a double murder committed in the name of God by brothers Ron and Dan Lafferty, who adhered to a fundamentalist version of Mormonism. The Laffertys killed their sister-in-law and her infant daughter and claimed that God had sent them a “removal revelation.”

Krakauer’s book also explores the ideologies of both The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and fundamentalist Mormon polygamous groups.

Krakauer’s “Into the Wild” was adapted into a feature starring Emile Hirsch and his “Into Thin Air” was made into a telepic.

“Under the Banner of Heaven” reteams Warner Bros. with Imagine and Black following their work on Clint Eastwood’s biopic “J. Edgar,” which is in post-production.

Announcement of the deal for “Banner of Heaven” came a day after Universal placed the ambitious multiplatform franchise “The Dark Tower” in turnaround. Project from Akiva Goldsman and Howard had been in limbo since early May.

Howard unveiled plans for “The Dark Tower” adaptation last September. Universal soon came on as a distributor, thanks to Imagine’s production deal with the studio. Howard was expected to direct and Grazer and Goldsman were set to produce.

CAA reps Howard, Grazer and Black.

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