Casey Affleck is to star in a Film4 adaptation of cult novel Stoner (Vintage Classics) by late author John Williams.
The film, which is also being developed by Blumhouse Productions (of "Get Out") and Cohen Media Group (CMG), and will be directed by Joe Wright of "Atonement".
Stoner follows an impoverished farmer-turned-academic, and the story of how he makes his way through the first half of the 20th Century.
It was originally published in 1965 and fell out of print the previous year before being reissued by Vintage Classics in 2012. Its popularity soared, fans including Bret Easton Ellis and Nick Hornby, and it became Waterstones Book of the Year in 2013. Williams died in 1994.
Blumhouse optioned the book in 2011. Jason Blum (Blumhouse), Charles S Cohen (CMG) and Daniel Battsek (Film4) are producing the film with Ethan Hawke serving as executive producer. Battsek and Blum brought the project to Film4 for development during Battsek’s time as president CMG, so he retains a producer credit because this has "long been a passion project of his".
“Because the novel is so beautiful but not well-known, fans of Stoner feel like they’re in a secret club. I’m so excited that Casey, Joe and Andrew have come aboard to help expand this club’s membership,” said Blum. “This quintessentially American work is being brought to the screen by a terrific international team and we’re confident their combined perspectives will add rich layers to this moving story.”
Jason Blum (Blumhouse), Charles S Cohen (CMG) and Daniel Battsek (Film4) are producing the film with actor Ethan Hawke serving as Executive Producer. Battsek and Blum brought the project to Film4 for development during Battsek’s time as President of CMG, so he retains a producer credit on this one occasion, on what has long been a passion project of his.
Playwright and screenwriter, Andrew Bovell is best known for the film "Lantana", which he adapted from his award-winning play Speaking in Tongues. Bovell also adapted "A Most Wanted Man", from the John le Carré novel of the same name.
Affleck is represented by WME and Ziffren Brittenham. Wright is represented by agency CAA. Bovell is represented by Kate Richter at HLA Management in Australia and Jerry Kalajian at International Property Group.
In 2015 Vintage created a 50th anniversary campaign through #weareallStonersnow Twitter campaign and various giveaways as well as published Williams’ 1960 Butcher’s Crossing in 2014 which had been out of print in the UK since 1972, as well as a hardback special edition of Stoner in November 2013.
It has now sold 275,114 copies amassing £2,117,233 according to Nielsen BookScan.