DreamWorks Pictures has acquired “American Gothic,” a novel about brothers Edwin and John Wilkes Booth for William Horberg’s Wonderland Films, Todd Field’s Standard Film Co., and Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella’s Mirage Enterprises.
Field has signed on to direct the film, in what could be his first directorial outing since “In the Bedroom.”
Scott Smith (“A Simple Plan”) adapted the novel, which was written by historian Gene Smith.
“Gothic” may also be the second straight project for Horberg, Pollack and Minghella to be set in the Civil War period, following “Cold Mountain,” which is now in post-production en route to a Miramax release at the end of the year. Minghella wrote and directed “Cold Mountain”; Horberg and Pollack are producing it.
“Gothic” is a more intimate story than “Cold Mountain.” It does not yet have a start date, but could go into production in early 2004.
“Gothic,” Horberg said, “takes you through an incredible, untold chapter in our nations’ history, that is a wildly entertaining tale and a tour de force for actors. I feel like I found a fellow traveler in Todd, who came to this project as obsessed with this story and these characters as I have been.”
Horberg and Field will produce “Gothic.” Pollack and Minghella will exec produce. DreamWorks exec Claire Rudnick-Polstien brought the project into the studio.
Field, repped by Endeavor, has appeared as an actor in such pics as “Eyes Wide Shut” and “The Haunting.” “In the Bedroom” was nominated for five Oscars, including best picture and screenplay.
Standard Film Co. and Wonderland Films both have first-look deals at DreamWorks.