Polley picked to peck atop ‘Monster’ pic

Hal Hartley pens/helms updated fairy tale for Zoetrope

Sarah Polley (“The Sweet Hereafter”) will star in writer-director Hal Hartley’s “Monster,” which will be produced by Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope for United Artists.

Also starring in this modern-day take on the classic beauty-and-the-beast tale are Julie Christie, Helen Mirren and Robert John Burke (“Thinner”). Story revolves around a young journalist (Polley) who travels to Iceland to find her missing fiance and forges an unlikely friendship with a mythical monster (Burke).

Production is slated to begin Sept. 1 in Iceland and New York.

This project falls under Zoetrope’s recent co-production pact with MGM. The agreement calls for UA, now the studio’s specialty division, to distribute 10 Coppola-produced films domestically during the next two years. The projects are budgeted at about $10 million each.

Toronto preem

Polley is slated to next appear in UA’s “The Claim” (aka “Kingdom Come”) and Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Weight of Water,” which will premiere next month in her native Toronto at the Toronto Intl. Film Festival.

Her credits include “Guinevere” and “Go.” She is repped by her Canadian agent, Celia Chassels, and the William Morris Agency.

Mirren, who most recently starred in “Teaching Mrs. Tingle” and will appear in the upcoming “The Pledge” opposite Jack Nicholson, is repped by ICM.

Burke, who previously worked with Hartley on “Flirt,” “Simple Men” and “The Unbelievable Truth,” is repped by the Gersh Agency.

Christie most recently starred in Alan Rudolph’s “Afterglow.”

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