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Sam Worthington to Star in ‘The Shack’ With Octavia Spencer (EXCLUSIVE)

Sam Worthington will star alongside Octavia Spencer in Lionsgate’s “The Shack,” an adaptation of the bestselling novel by William Paul Young.

Stuart Hazeldine is directing the pic, with Gil Netter producing through Netter Productions along with Brad Cummings. Filming is set to start this spring.

Originally published in 2007, the novel follows a man (Worthington) whose youngest daughter is abducted during a family vacation, with evidence found in an abandoned shack leading authorities to believe she was murdered. Four years later, the man receives a note, apparently from God, inviting him back to the shack. Against his better judgment, he accepts the invitation and finds something there that will change his life forever.

Lionsgate acquired rights to the book in 2013; “The Shack” has sold more than 19 million copies in 39 languages, including 10 million in the U.S. alone.

Mike Paseornek, Lionsgate’s president of motion picture production and development; Matthew Janzen, VP of production; and Bree Bailey, director of production, are overseeing the project on behalf of the studio. Robert Melnik, Lionsgate’s exec VP of business affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of the studio.

Worthington will reprise his role of Jake Sully in the next three “Avatar” sequels, which are expected to shoot back-to-back-back starting in 2016. The actor most recently starred with Jennifer Aniston in the independent film “Cake” and can next be seen in Working Title’s “Everest” with Jason Clarke, Jake Gyllenhaal and Josh Brolin.

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Along with his producing partners John Schwarz and Mike Schwarz at Full Clip Productions, Worthington recently produced and starred in the four-part miniseries “Deadline Gallipoli,” currently airing in Australia. Full Clip and Worthington are also in post-production on the action-thriller “Hunter’s Prayer,” in which he appears alongside Odeya Rush, Martin Compston, Veronica Echegui and Allen Leech.

Worthington is represented by CAA, Anonymous Content, Shanahan Management and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller.

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