Fox Searchlight pic based on short story by Dennis Lehane

Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace are in talks to star in Fox Searchlight’s “Animal Rescue,” based on the short story by Dennis Lehane.

Variety first reported that Hardy was circling the project when it was announced that Michael R. Roskam would direct.

Lehane will also pen the script, which follows a lonely Boston bartender who rescues a puppy from a garbage can and becomes the target of the dog’s abusive and mentally unstable former owner, while simultaneously getting caught in the middle of a criminal conspiracy playing out in his mob-controlled bar.

Peter Chernin, Dylan Clark and Jenno Topping are producing with Mike Larocca. Production is tentatively skedded to start early next year.

The CAA-repped Hardy had just wrapped production on Warner Bros.’ “Fury Road” and had been weighing several projects including “Everest” and Summit’s “Child 44,” which Rapace had also been circling.

Rapace is repped by Magnolia Entertainment and Conway van Gelder Grant.

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