Jackson Rathbone and Erika Christensen to Star in THE IDIOT Adaptation

     May 12, 2011


Jackson Rathbone and Erika Christensen have signed on to star in the feature adaptation of the Fyodor Dostoyevsky novel The Idiot.  The thriller centers on “a man of pure spirit who thinks he can save the world but is caught between a wildly beautiful and fragile woman, a woman he is falling in love with and a friend who is trying to destroy him.”  Variety reports Paul Williams will direct with an eye toward a September shoot in Los Angeles.  Donald Kushner (Tron: Legacy) will produce.  Intandem Films is currently shopping the package to buyers at the Cannes Film Festival.

Read the official book synopsis after the jump.

In The Idiot, the saintly Prince Myshkin returns to Russia from a Swiss sanatorium and finds himself a stranger in a society obsessed with wealth, power, and sexual conquest. He soon becomes entangled in a love triangle with a notorious kept woman, Nastasya, and a beautiful young girl, Aglaya. Extortion and scandal escalate to murder, as Dostoevsky’s “positively beautiful man” clashes with the emptiness of a society that cannot accommodate his innocence and moral idealism. [Amazon]

Several notable international filmmakers have taken on The Idiot.  Akira Kurosawa filmed a sprawling 265-minute adaptation in two parts that was eventually cut down for release.  As one of Russia’s preeminent directors, Andrei Tarkovsky likely would have produced the definitive version, but he died before he could start work on it.  As far as I can tell, this is the first major English-language attempt to adapt The Idiot.


Twenty-seven-year-old Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin returns to Russia after spending several years at a Swiss sanatorium. Scorned by the society of St. Petersburgh for his idiocy, generosity and innocence, he finds himself at the centre of a struggle between a beautiful kept woman and a gorgeous, virtuous girl, both of whom win his affection. Unfortunately, Myshkin’s very goodness seems to precipitate disaster, leaving the impression that, in a world obsessed with money, power, and sexual conquest, a sanatorium may be the only place for a saint.

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