Independent producer Aaron Magnani has attached Michael Polish to direct and is in talks with Evan Rachel Wood to topline “18 Wheel Butterfly,” a road movie written by Christian Divine that is described as a cross between “Thelma and Louise” and “Smokey and the Bandit.”
Magnani will produce through his Water Bear/Aaron Magnani Prods. banner, while the helmer and his brother, Mark Polish, will produce through their Polish Brothers Construction shingle.
A colorful throwback pic set in Texas during the summer of 1977, “Butterfly” will star Wood as Rainbeaux, a driver who must outrace the law, bounty hunters and a pair of fellow truckers after she is accused of a crime she didn’t commit.
There’s no start date in place, as Magnani is currently seeking financing for “18 Wheel Butterfly,” one of several projects he has in development. Others include a project with “Transformers” producer Don Murphy; Divine’s script “Carnage”; Mark Brewington’s script “Sovereign Man”; and Karyn Kusama’s “The Rut,” which has Chloe Moretz, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Ray Liotta attached to star.
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Since starring in Catherine Hardwicke’s gritty drama “Thirteen,” Wood has quietly found a place among the leading thesps of her generation, having recently worked with filmmakers such as Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler”), Woody Allen (“Whatever Works”), Robert Redford (“The Conspirator”) and George Clooney (“The Ides of March”). Thesp, who earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her perf in HBO miniseries “Mildred Pierce,” recently wrapped a pair of indies in Andrew Fleming’s “Barefoot” and Kat Coiro’s “A Case of You.” Wood will next be seen opposite Shia LaBeouf in “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman.”
Michael Polish burst onto the Hollywood scene in 1999 with “Twin Falls Idaho,” in which the helmer and his co-writer brother played conjoined twins. He went on to direct “Northfork,” “The Astronaut Farmer” and “For Lovers Only.” Polish recently wrote and directed an adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s 1962 novel “Big Sur,” which stars Josh Lucas, Radha Mitchell and Kate Bosworth.
Divine, who coincidentally grew up in the same hometown as Polish, previously wrote the videogame “Deus Ex” and has contributed to several magazines including Creative Screenwriting.
In addition to repping the project, CAA reps Wood and Polish, who is also repped by manager Oren Segal at MPE.