Shooting will start in September in California. Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now”) is directing from his own script.
The film is being produced by Hanks and Gary Goetzman for Playtone, Anthony Bregman for Likely Story and Ponsoldt. The film will be presented by Image Nation in association with Parkes MacDonald Productions.
IM Global is handling international sales while U.S. rights are being jointly repped by UTA Independent Film Group and CAA.
Alicia Vikander had been attached to star in “The Circle” when the film was being sold at Cannes but has left the project.
Watson will portray an employee hired for a big job in an Internet monopoly called the Circle, which links users’ personal emails, social media, banking and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. The novel turns into a contemporary thriller about the perils of life in a digital age where personal data is collected, sifted and monetized and used for surveillance, rendering privacy obsolete.
Post-“Harry Potter,” Watson has starred in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “The Bling Ring” and “Noah” and is set to appear in the live-action “Beauty and the Beast” for Disney.
“Emma Watson is one of my favorite actors, and her incredible talent, sensitivity and deep intelligence will bring an electric energy to ‘The Circle,'” Ponsoldt said.
Watson is represented by WME (U.S.), Untitled (U.S.) and Markham, Froggatt and Irwin (U.K.).