Lionsgate has launched development of a movie based on Oscar Wilde’s 1890 novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray,” Variety has learned exclusively.
The studio is putting a twist on the classic Victorian age story of a hedonistic man whose self-portrait ages while he stays eternally young. In this project, the title character will be a woman.
The film will be directed by Annie Clark, a.k.a St. Vincent, the experimental rock multi-instrumentalist. Her album, the self-titled “St. Vincent,” won the Grammy for Best Alternative Album in 2015. She has been the recipient of the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award and the Q Maverick award, both given for outstanding innovation in the arts.
She made her filmmaking debut at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where her short “Birthday Party,” premiered as a part of the female-driven “XX” horror anthology. She co-wrote, scored and directed the film, with Melanie Lynskey, Joe Swanberg and Sheila Vand starring. “XX” became available on Netflix in March.
David Birke has been hired to write the script. Birke wrote Paul Verhoeven’s thriller “Elle,” starring Isabelle Huppert. He also co-wrote the upcoming “Slender Man” horror film from Screen Gems, and is currently adapting the crime thriller “Alex” from Pierre Lemaitre’s novel.
Wilde’s original “The Picture of Dorian Gray” was the only novel he ever published. The story has been the basis of multiple movies with MGM’s 1945 version becoming the best known. That film starred Hurd Hatfield, George Sanders and Angela Lansbury, who received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress.
Birke and Clark are both repped by Paradigm. Birke is managed at Madhouse with legal at Hansen Jacobson. Clark’s legal is at Counsel LLP.