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Ryder toplines ‘Souls’ for Ryan’s Prufrock

Pic marks Kaminski helming bow

Winona Ryder is in final negotiations to star in New Line Cinema’s psychological thriller “Lost Souls,” the helming debut of cinematographer Janusz Kaminski.

Scripted by Pierce Gardner (who will receive story co-credit with Betsy Stahl), the project is being produced by Meg Ryan and Nina R. Sadowsky, who runs Ryan’s Castle Rock-based Prufrock Pictures. Gardner and Stahl serve as exec producers.

In the film, Ryder will star as Maya, a former troublemaker who has reformed and now works as a teacher at a seminary. Armed with the knowledge of Satanic rites, she is charged with convincing a high-powered attorney that he is the target of a conspiracy to enable the devil to walk the Earth in human form — and must help him defeat the powers of evil before his 33rd birthday.

“Lost Souls” is expected to go before the cameras this fall, the same time of year Ryder was slated to begin her starring role in James Mangold’s long-in-development drama “Girl Interrupted” for Columbia. It now looks likely, according to sources, that Columbia will alter its scheduled date so that Ryder can first shoot “Lost Souls,” and then segue into “Girl Interrupted.”

Ryder is represented by ICM’s Ed Limato and manager Carol Bodie.

Kaminski, a longtime collaborator with Steven Spielberg, earned an Academy Award in 1993 for his camera work on “Schindler’s List.” He also shot “Amistad,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and the upcoming DreamWorks/Paramount war saga “Saving Private Ryan.”

The project originally was brought into New Line as a starring vehicle for Ryan, but because it explores similar issues of “spiritual crisis and rebirth” as Ryan’s latest starring stint in “City of Angels,” said Prufrock’s Sadowsky, the company sought another actress for the lead.

“We’re really proud of this project,” said Sadowsky. “Because it’s the first feature that we’re producing that is not for Meg to star in.”

New Line Prods. prexy Michael De Luca and vice president of production Donna Langley are overseeing the project for New Line.