After starring opposite Charlize Theron in Gillian Flynn adaptation Dark Places, which opens August 7, Chloë Grace Moretz is reteaming with the Oscar winner for indie memoir adaptation Brain on Fire, replacing Dakota Fanning in the lead role.
Theron will produce the pic, which Gerard Barrett is set to direct working from Susannah Cahalan’s bestselling memoir, about the author’s sudden descent into madness after contracting a rare disease.
Thomas Mann, who’s breaking big this summer in Me & Earl & the Dying Girl, and We’re the Millers star Will Poulter are attached to the lead male roles, but both will play second fiddle to Moretz, for whom the pic is already drawing awards chatter. IMDb also reports that Jenny Slate (Obvious Child) is on board to play a supporting part.
Fanning was forced to drop out over scheduling conflicts. Though the War of the Worlds actress hasn’t toplined as many notable pics over the past few years (she’s been plenty busy, also attending New York University), she is making a comeback of sorts with upcoming projects like Richard Gere drama Franny, ’80s set music drama Viena and the Fantomes and star-studded Western Brimstone. Brain on Fire, it seems, was one movie too many.
Nevertheless, Moretz is a more-than-capable replacement. Her tearjerker bid If I Stay fell flat last August thanks to awful writing and vanilla direction, but the Kick-Ass actress still has designs on the YA crowd with sci-fi thriller adaptation The 5th Wave, out next year, and she’s proven herself a stellar performer in everything from Carrie to Clouds of Sils Maria.
With its dramatic subject matter, Brain on Fire is definitely a great next step for the actress. Here’s the book synopsis, courtesy of Amazon:
An award-winning memoir and instant New York Times bestseller that goes far beyond its riveting medical mystery, Brain on Fire is the powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity.
When twenty-four-year-old Susannah Cahalan woke up alone in a hospital room, strapped to her bed and unable to move or speak, she had no memory of how she’d gotten there. Days earlier, she had been on the threshold of a new, adult life: at the beginning of her first serious relationship and a promising career at a major New York newspaper. Now she was labeled violent, psychotic, a flight risk. What happened?
In a swift and breathtaking narrative, Susannah tells the astonishing true story of her descent into madness, her family’s inspiring faith in her, and the lifesaving diagnosis that nearly didn’t happen.
“A fascinating look at the disease that . . . could have cost this vibrant, vital young woman her life” (People), Brain on Fire is an unforgettable exploration of memory and identity, faith and love, and a profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.