Pan director Joe Wright is venturing out to sea again – though his vessel will be sailing through water, not air, this time around. The helmer is in talks to direct The Lifeboat, an adaptation of Charlotte Rogan’s book, with Anne Hathaway attached to the lead role.
Working Title and Focus Features are producing alongside Hathaway.
The Les Miserables Oscar winner will play a young newlywed-turned-widow standing trial for murder in 1914. As she faces down a jury that could decide whether she lives or dies, the woman recounts her struggle to survive, alongside her new husband, in the aftermath of the sinking of the Empress, a transatlantic ocean liner. Climbing aboard a lifeboat, she is momentarily saved, only to realize that the lifeboat has exceeded capacity – and that some must surrender their own lives in order to ensure the survival of the others.
William Broyles Jr., known for high-stakes survival dramas Cast Away and Apollo 13, is penning the script and will also exec-produce, lending The Lifeboat the trappings of a prestige pic.
Rogan’s novel was a terrific read, filled with intriguing moral questions and powered by a complex, layered heroine alternately admirable and detestable. It should be a real treat to watch an actress as talented as Hathaway bring The Lifeboat‘s lead character to life.
Wright is better known for his lavish productions, like Anna Karenina and Pride and Prejudice, but his knack for recreating period settings should come in handy for this story, even if it’s confined to a much smaller stage than Wright is accustomed to.
The Lifeboat doesn’t have a revealed production schedule yet, and given that the director is still putting finishing touches on Pan, he may wish to take a small break after what will undoubtedly prove to be his biggest movie to date. Still, chances are this will be set for an awards-friendly date in the winter of next year.