Evan Rachel Wood will star alongside Jim Sturgess and Shinobu Terajima in “One Thousand Paper Cranes,” the story of Hiroshima survivor Sadako Sasaki and author Eleanor Coerr, who wrote the worldwide bestselling children’s book “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes.” Independent has boarded sales ahead of Cannes, where the project will be at the Marche. CAA Media Finance is handling North American rights.
Richard Raymond (“Desert Dancer”) will direct from Ben Bolea’s script, which featured on the Black List, the roster of Hollywood’s hottest yet-to-be-produced screenplays. Ian Bryce (“Saving Private Ryan”) will produce alongside Richard Raymond and Irene Yeung.
The film will tell the true story of Sasaki, who was a 2-year-old in Hiroshima when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city in 1945. She was later diagnosed with leukemia caused by exposure to radiation from the blast. She drew strength from a Japanese legend that, if she folded 1,000 paper cranes, she would be granted a wish, which in her case was to live.
Coerr, an aspiring journalist and young mother, learns of the girl and becomes determined to share her story with the world. The Canadian-American author’s subsequent children’s book went on to achieve classic status after its publication in 1977. It remains widely read. Sadako’s legacy includes a statue of her holding a crane in the Hiroshima Peace Park.
The film also incorporates elements of Takayuki Ishii’s novel “One Thousand Paper Cranes: The Story of Sadako and the Children’s Peace Statue.”
Raymond said Sasaki’s story remains as relevant as ever. “It’s a story that was amplified and became a phenomenon because of the author, Eleanor Coerr,” he said. “This film shows for the first time the untold truth behind these two remarkable women, and how their lives are intricately connected. I’m honored by the trust Eleanor’s family and the Hiroshima Film Council have bestowed upon me to tell this story.”
Independent’s Cora Palfrey and Sarah Lebutsch are executive producing. “We are delighted to work together with Richard, Ian, Irene and the talented cast and crew assembled on this immensely powerful story,” Lebutsch said. “We look forward to introducing the film to buyers at Cannes – this will be a sought-after title in the market. ‘’
Bryce said: “We are thrilled to be working with Independent to bring this beautifully inspirational story to the screen.”
The film sees Wood (“Westworld”) working with Sturgess (“Cloud Atlas”) again after “Across the Universe.” Wood is part of the voice cast for “Frozen II.” Japanese actress Terajima’s credits include “Oh Lucy!” and “Caterpillar.”
Shooting on “One Thousand Paper Cranes” will get underway later this year. Wood and Sturgess are repped by CAA and Terajima by A Petits Pas. Raymond is repped by Gotham Group, and Bryce by UTA.