×

Evan Rachel Wood to Star in Hiroshima-Inspired ‘One Thousand Paper Cranes’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Independent boards sales ahead of Cannes

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.

Popular on Variety

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.

More Film

  • Dev Patel Toronto International Film Festival

    Film News Roundup: Dev Patel to Star in 'Flash Crash' Financial Thriller

    In today’s film news roundup, Dev Patel will portray a market whiz in a “Flash Crash” movie, the late Marty Sklar is honored at UCLA, “The Conversation” is getting a re-release and Ellen Page’s documentary gets a trailer. PROJECT LAUNCH Dev Patel will star in the adaptation of “Flash Crash: A Trading Savant, a Global [...]

  • Police guard the scenery in front

    Mass Shooting in Germany Raises Security Concerns for Berlin Film Festival

    A mass shooting in the West German city of Hanau has raised security concerns for the Berlin Film Festival, which kicks off on Thursday. Local media reports late Wednesday indicate that several people are dead following a shooting. Eight people are believed to have been killed while five others are injured. An unknown assailant is [...]

  • Foto: ©2019 TOM TRAMBOWProjekt: „Lassie Come

    Global Screen Sells 'Lassie Come Home' to More Than 44 Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Munich-based world sales company Global Screen has pre-sold the new adaptation of Eric Knight novel’s “Lassie Come Home,” whose canine character was first brought to the big screen more than 75 years ago, to more than 44 countries. Territories include Italy (Lucky Red), France (Mediawan Rights), Scandinavia (Angel Scandinavia), Israel (Film House), CIS (Volga Film), [...]

  • Paramount Players

    Paramount Players Loses Executives Matt Dines, Ali Bell

    Paramount Players has lost two of its executives, with Matt Dines and Ali Bell leaving their posts as executive vice presidents of development and production. A spokesman for Paramount told Variety that there are no plans to shutter the three-year-old division in the wake of the departures. Wyck Godfrey, Paramount’s motion pictures group president, remains [...]

  • Anya Taylor Joy Emma Premiere

    Anya Taylor-Joy on Playing Jane Austen's Clever, Callous Protagonist in 'Emma'

    It was an evening of elegance at the Los Angeles premiere of Focus Features’ “Emma” on Tuesday night. The red carpet was lined with pastel floral arrangements at the DGA Theater, priming visitors to be transported to the ornate pageantry of Georgian-era England, as depicted in this new adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic tale. Anya [...]

  • Tom Holland Chris Pratt Onward Premiere

    Tom Holland and Chris Pratt Show Off Real-Life Bond at Pixar's 'Onward' Premiere

    Pixar’s new movie “Onward” marks a reunion of sorts for Tom Holland and Chris Pratt. The two actors, who both have ties to Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe and most recently teamed in “Avengers: Endgame” as Spider-Man and Star-Lord, play brothers in the animated fantasy adventure. Their friendship has become a highlight of “Onward’s” promotional tour [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content