Akerlund leans ‘Westward’

Pic penned by Jaswinski, with Loucka rewrite

HOLLYWOOD — Swedish helmer Jonas Akerlund is in negotiations to direct “Westward” for New Line Cinema.

In the thriller, penned by Anthony Jaswinski with a rewrite by David Loucka, a woman traveling across country to reunite with her stepson after her husband is murdered encounters a series of malevolent characters who may or may not have been involved in her husband’s death.

Project was originally purchased as a spec script by New Line just prior to its former deal with producing team Zide/Perry, which is producing pic for New Line. Lensing on “Westward” is expected to start this fall.

New Line production senior VP Stokely Chaffin and creative exec Stephanie Striegel are overseeing the project for the studio.

Akerlund is repped by ICM and attorney Warren Dern. Helmer most recently wrote and directed the indie buzz title “Spun.”

He is perhaps best known for his Grammy-winning video for Madonna’s “Ray of Light.” In 1993 he joined forces with producer Lars Pettersson to form the production company Pettersson Akerlund Filmproduktion. Together they produced and directed indie dance film “The Hidden,” featuring performance artists Bogdan Szyber and Carina Reich.

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