Egoyan inks for Icon pic

Atom Egoyan, the acclaimed Canuck director whose current film “The Sweet Hereafter” won the Grand Prix du Jury at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, has inked a deal with Mel Gibson and Bruce Davey’s Icon Prods. to helm “Felicia’s Journey,” based on the novel by William Trevor.

Davey, Icon’s president, will produce and Egoyan will adapt the screenplay from Trevor’s 1995 book.

The story is about an Irish country girl — unmarried, pregnant and penniless — who travels to England looking for the boyfriend who left her, but instead meets up with a mild-mannered, gentle psychopath who tries to lure her into his trap.

Although the company has production deals with Warner Bros. and Paramount, Icon will finance the project through development themselves. The company has produced the Academy Award winner “Braveheart” as well as “Anna Karenina,” “Hamlet,” “The Man Without a Face,” “187” and “Immortal Beloved.”

Trevor, an acclaimed Irish-born novelist and short story specialist, won a Whitbread Prize in 1994 for “Felicia’s Journey.” Hailed for his sympathetic portrayals of lonely, betrayed and self-betraying people, Trevor’s other works include “Family Sins,” “After Rain” and “Fools of Fortune.”

Egoyan and Icon briefly worked together on “Dead Sleep,” another psychological thriller, which Egoyan was to direct and Icon was to produce, but the pic never came together at Warner Bros.

The Icon assignment comes as Egoyan is riding a crest of critical acclaim for “The Sweet Hereafter,” which Fine Line is scheduled to release in December.

Prized picture

His previous film, “Exotica,” earned the helmer the Intl. Critics Week prize at the 1994 Cannes Film Fest as well as eight Genie Awards (the Canadian equivalent of the Oscars), including nods for best picture and directing. His other films include “Family Viewing,” “The Adjuster” and “Speaking Parts.”

Egoyan’s deal was negotiated by International Creative Management’s Robert Newman and Jacqueline Fuchs. He is repped in Canada by Ralph Zimmerman.

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