Richard Curtis to adapt novel for Stephen Daldry to direct

Stephen Daldry and Richard Curtis are set to team on a film adaptation of Andy Mulligan’s novel “Trash” for Working Title Films and Kris Thykier’s PeaPie Films.

It’s a contemporary thriller set in the Third World, about three boys who scrape a living picking through rubbish mounds. One day they discover a leather bag, whose contents plunge them into a terrifying adventure, pitting their wits against corruption and authority to right a terrible wrong.

“Trash” was published last fall in the U.K. and the U.S. by David Fickling Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books. The film deal was negotiated by Jenne Casarotto of Casarotto Ramsay Associates.

“From the opening pages of ‘Trash,’ I knew that I had discovered one of the most thrilling, dynamic and inspiring books I’d ever come across,” said Thykier, whose producing credits include “W.E.” and “The Debt.”

Mulligan said, “As far as I’m concerned this is the dream-team, and what has really impressed me is their desire to tell the story as it is, without coating it in sugar. They ‘get’ the book, and you can’t ask for more than that.”

Thykier brought the book to Daldry and Curtis, then set the project up with Eric Fellner at Working Title. Working Title has longstanding relationships with Daldry (“Billy Elliot”) and Curtis (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”), dating back to their film debuts. Thykier also has close links to the company from his previous career as a publicist.

The project is being developed with a view to shooting in 2012.

Curtis recently worked on the movie adaptation of another children’s book, Michael Morpurgo’s “War Horse,” for Steven Spielberg. He also adapted the African-set “No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency” for TV.

Daldry is shooting “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” for Scott Rudin, Paramount and Warner, based on Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel about a 9-year-old boy in New York trying to solve a mystery left by his father’s death in the 9/11 attacks.

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