DreamWorks takes a flier on ‘Runner’

Novel focuses on bond created by the love of kite flying

DreamWorks and Wonderland Films will take a flier on “The Kite Runner,” buying screen rights to the Khaled Hosseini novel just published by Riverhead Press.

Deal was made by Hotchkiss & Associates. Wonderland Films will develop the novel through its first-look deal with DreamWorks, and the pic will be produced by William Horberg and Rebecca Yeldham with DreamWorks exec Paul Lister overseeing. Horberg and Yeldham have long experience with novel adaptations that include “Cold Mountain,” “The Quiet American,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley” and “The Motorcycle Diaries.”

The sweeping novel tells the story of the bond that develops in Afghanistan between a privileged youth and the son of his father’s servant, around a love of kite flying. The relationship fractures when one boy is set upon by toughs during a kite-flying tournament and the other boy does nothing to help him. Years later, a reunion amidst the wreckage of the Taliban regime reconnects the youths.

“This book gets under your skin like few others I have read,” said Horberg. “Khaled’s power as a storyteller, his cinematic style and his amazing ability to find universal themes and accessible characters within his specific culture, all promise to make this a truly moving and compelling film.”