Fox units join for ‘Letters’

Tucci to write and direct

NEW YORK — Fox 2000 and Fox Searchlight have banded together to acquire the Niall Williams’ novel “Four Letters of Love” for Stanley Tucci to write and direct. He’ll also produce with his partner, Beth Alexander. The purchase was worth six figures.

The deal comes just after Tucci completed directing “The Imposters,” formerly “Ship of Fools,” for Searchlight.

The novel, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, concerns two dysfunctional Dublin families and concentrates on the young narrator, Nicholas Coughlan, as he comes of age. His civil servant father announces that he’s given up his job to become a painter as God has ordered. Meanwhile, the family of Isabel Gore is traumatized by her brother’s autism. Through a series of complicated events, Nicholas and Isabel are brought together and fall in love. Several bidders chased the screen rights. That included Tucci and Alexander’s First Cold Press Films; Fox Searchlight’s Lindsay Law; and Fox 2000’s Laura Ziskin and Kevin McCormick. They decided to join forces, a first for the two Fox units.

After co-directing “Big Night” with Campbell Scott, Tucci got his first solo directing gig with “The Imposters.” He intends to direct “Four Letters of Love” once he wraps “Joe Gould’s Secret,” a pic he’ll direct for October Films and produce with Alexander and Chuck Weinstock. Tucci is also booked to play the legendary gossip columnist in “Walter Winchell,” an HBO film to be helmed by Paul Mazursky.

Tucci was repped by William Morris agents Frank Frattaroli, Jeff Field and Danny Sussman.

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