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Guillermo Arriaga adapting THE TIGER

Posted May 12, 2010

Darren Aronofsky, Brad Pitt to produce film from John Vaillant book for Focus Features & Random House Films

CANNES, May 11, 2010 – As a co-production in their unique partnership, Random House Inc.’s Random House Films division and Focus Features are developing the adventure thriller The Tiger, which Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga (Babel) is adapting for producer Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) and his Protozoa Pictures from John Vaillant’s upcoming nonfiction book The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival.

Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment will also produce the feature version; worldwide rights will be held by Focus. The announcement was made today by Focus CEO James Schamus and Random House Films President Peter Gethers.

The book, to be published on August 24th by Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House, Inc., takes place on the Siberian plain, where human development is encroaching on the tigers’ habitat – and one tiger turns on the intruders. With townspeople being tracked and hunted with an almost supernatural power, a conservationist game warden must face down the tiger. It is a fight that only one of them can win.

No director has yet been confirmed for the film version. Producers on the feature will be Protozoa’s Mark Heyman and Ari Handel, with Mr. Aronofsky; and Plan B’s Jeremy Kleiner and Dede Gardner, with Mr. Pitt. Focus senior vice president, production Kahli Small is supervising the project with Focus director of production Matthew Plouffe for Focus president of production John Lyons and Valerie Cates, Executive Story Editor, Random House Films.

Mr. Schamus said, “We’re delighted to be collaborating again with Guillermo Arriaga, one of the most compelling storytellers working today.”

Mr. Gethers added, “John Vaillant’s page-turning exploration of the dark and bright forces of nature will make for a thrilling moviegoing experience.”

Mr. Aronofsky most recently directed and produced, through Protozoa, The Wrestler, for which stars Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei received Academy Award nominations. His other films as director include Requiem for a Dream, for which lead actress Ellen Burstyn was an Academy Award nominee; and Black Swan, starring Natalie Portman, which is currently in post-production for release this fall.

Plan B has produced such films as Martin Scorsese’s The Departed, which won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director; and Ryan Murphy’s Eat, Pray, Love, starring Julia Roberts, which will be released nationwide in August.

Mr. Arriaga was an Academy Award nominee for his original screenplay of Babel, which starred Mr. Pitt; and a BAFTA Award nominee for his original screenplay of 21 Grams, also for Focus. He won the Best Screenplay award at the 2005 Cannes International Film Festival for The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, becoming the first Spanish-speaking recipient of the award. He is also a novelist and short stories writer whose work has been translated into 17 languages. He most recently wrote and directed The Burning Plain, starring Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Mr. Arriaga said, “This is the first time I have adapted a screenplay, since I have previously only written original screenplays. I chose to adapt this story, first, because I have a profound love for the outdoors and the intense tension between man and nature which the book reflects; and, second, because of the great privilege of working with such accomplished filmmakers as Darren Aronofsky, Brad Pitt, and James Schamus.”

In the unique multi-year filmmaking partnership between Random House Films and Focus, the companies develop movies together and co-finance and co-produce a substantial slate of feature films for theatrical release, all based on books published by Random House imprints in North America and internationally. Random House Films and Focus jointly acquire film rights for the books and partner together on script development, director selection, all phases of production, and marketing and publicity. Films co-produced by Focus with Random House Films are jointly owned, with Focus holding worldwide distribution and sales rights.

Focus Features and Focus Features International (www.focusfeatures.com) comprise a singular global company. This worldwide studio makes original and daring films that challenge the mainstream to embrace and enjoy voices and visions from around the world that deliver global commercial success. The company operates as Focus Features in North America, and as Focus Features International (FFI) in the rest of the world.

Current and upcoming Focus Features releases include Greenberg, from writer/director Noah Baumbach and starring Ben Stiller; the unique nonfiction feature Babies, directed by Thomas Balmès; Anton Corbijn’s suspense thriller The American, starring George Clooney; writer/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s It’s Kind of a Funny Story; Academy Award-winning writer/director Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere; Kevin Macdonald’s Roman epic adventure The Eagle of the Ninth, starring Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, and Mark Strong; Joe Wright’s adventure thriller Hanna, starring Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, and Eric Bana; Cary Fukunaga’s romantic drama Jane Eyre, starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender; and Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right, starring Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, and Mark Ruffalo.

Focus Features and Focus Features International are part of NBC Universal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi.

Random House, Inc. (www.randomhouse.com), the U.S. division of Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is home to many of the world’s foremost and most popular authors of adult and children’s books.  Random House has more than 120 publishing imprints in the U.S. and Canada, which publish books in hardcover, trade and mass market paperback, audio, electronic, digital, and other emerging formats.  More than fifty Random House authors have been awarded Nobel Prizes and the company’s books have won numerous Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, Newbery honors, and other major literary recognitions.