Murray elects to lead Kenan’s ‘City’

Walden, Playtone producing DuPrau novel

Bill Murray will star in “City of Ember,” the Walden Media adaptation of the Jeanne DuPrau young adult novel.

Gil Kenan (“Monster House”) directs and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing.

Toby Jones (“Infamous”) and Saoirse Ronan (“Atonement”) also star.

Shooting begins this summer in Belfast and the film will be released Oct. 10, 2008, by 20th Century Fox through the joint marketing venture Fox Walden. John D. Schofield is exec producer.

Caroline Thompson wrote the script about an insular, dark place where the only light comes from street lamps. As the power source begins to fail, two teenagers search for clues that will unlock ancient mysteries about the city but they are thwarted by a corrupt mayor.

Project is one of three recent book adaptations for Playtone. Universal has just scheduled a Christmas Day bow for “Charlie Wilson’s War,” the drama based on the George Crile nonfiction book. Director Spike Jonze just wrapped an adaptation of the Maurice Sendak kid novel “Where the Wild Things Are” for Warner Bros. and Legendary.

Next up for Playtone is a June production start on “Mamma Mia!” for Universal.

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