'Descendants' thesp and 'Smashed' helmer bring new life to pic

After four years in development, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber’s adaptation of Tim Tharp’s award-winning novel “The Spectacular Now” is finally moving forward with Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”) attached to star and “Smashed” helmer James Ponsoldt set to direct for Global Produce and 21 Laps.

Coming-of-age dramedy follows a teenage girl (Woodley) who convinces an alcoholic high school senior that his philosophy of living only for the moment may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

Global Produce principals Tom McNulty and Marc Shmuger will produce with Shawn Levy of 21 Laps, while “500 Days of Summer” scribes Weber and Neustadter will exec produce. Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen will oversee the project for 21 Laps.

UTA Independent Film Group is repping “Spectacular,” which Ponsoldt’s fellow Sundance helmer Lee Toland Krieger (“Celeste and Jesse Forever”) was originally attached to direct before scheduling issues forced him to leave the project. Woodley nearly followed him before seeing Ponsoldt’s sobriety drama “Smashed,” which convinced her to stick with the pic.

McNulty has been with “Spectacular” since the beginning and is now finalizing its financing as the filmmakers search for the male lead.

Woodley has been flooded with offers since her award-winning turn in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants,” though she’s been focusing on her committment to the ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.” “The Spectacular Now” is the first project she has committed following her breakout perf in “Descendants.”

Ponsoldt made his directorial debut with the Nick Nolte pic “Off the Black,” and Sony Pictures Classics picked up “Smashed” shortly after its Sundance debut this past January.

Woodley is repped by Paradigm, Principato-Young Entertainment, Felker Toczek Gellman Suddleson and The Savage Agency, while Ponsoldt is repped by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Paradigm and UTA Independent Film Group will rep the film.

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