Jessica Brown Findlay to Star in Akiva Goldsman’s WINTER’S TALE; Aaron Johnson and Garrett Hedlund Frontrunners for Male Lead

     March 21, 2012

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Several weeks ago, we reported that Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) was in the running for the lead female role in writer-director Akiva Goldman‘s adaptation of Mark Helprin‘s novel Winter’s Tale.  Today, Deadline reports that Findlay has nabbed the role of “the dying young woman who falls in love with a thief who breaks into her home, a palatial West Side mansion, in a drama that takes place in 19th Century and contemporary Manhattan.”  Deadline adds that Aaron Johnson and Garrett Hedlund are the frontrunners to play the thief.  As we previously reported, Russell Crowe and Will Smith, who worked with Goldsman on A Beautiful Mind and I Am Legend, respectively, will have small supporting roles in the film.  Goldsman is making his directorial debut on Winter’s Tale, and shooting is set to begin on October 15th in New York.

I haven’t seen Downton Abbey, but I’ve only heard raves about the show, so I’ll assume that Findlay is great on it.  Hit the jump for a synopsis for Helprin’s novel.

Here’s the synopsis of Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale:

New York City is subsumed in arctic winds, dark nights, and white lights, its life unfolds, for it is an extraordinary hive of the imagination, the greatest house ever built, and nothing exists that can check its vitality. One night in winter, Peter Lake–orphan and master-mechanic, attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side.

Though he thinks the house is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the love between Peter Lake, a middle-aged Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young girl, who is dying.

Peter Lake, a simple, uneducated man, because of a love that, at first he does not fully understand, is driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle, in a city ever alight with its own energy and beseiged by unprecedented winters, is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature. [Amazon]

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