LOS ANGELES— British director Johannes Roberts is re-teaming with production and finance outfit The Fyzz Facility for coming-of-age drama “Hearts,” an adaptation of Stephen King’s critically acclaimed novella “Hearts in Atlantis.”
Set in 1966, “Hearts” is a bittersweet coming-of-age story about a group of college boys and their first time away from home, their obsession and self-destruction, and what it means to be an adult in a world where, in the face of a devastating war no one understands, adults no longer can be trusted.
Roberts adapted the story with his regular writing partner, Ernest Riera. The pair has recently come off horror film “The Other Side Of The Door,” starring Sarah Wayne Callies and released worldwide by 20th Century Fox, and shark thriller “47 Meters Down,” starring Mandy Moore, which marked Roberts’ first collaboration with The Fyzz Facility. “47 Meters Down”is scheduled for U.S. release through Entertainment Freestyle in 2017.
“As a teenager, discovering Stephen King’s books and their cinematic counterparts was what led me to want to become a filmmaker,” says Roberts. “The story ‘Hearts in Atlantis’ is my favorite piece of King’s writing. Turning this story into a movie had been a lifelong dream.”
The celebrated author has given his personal approval to the adaptation, which is based on his own time in college.
The story centers on a group of poor freshmen, surviving off scholarships and aid packages, who become obsessed with the highly addictive — and highly vindictive — card game Hearts and find their world starts to slowly unravel. Their grades begin to fall, and one by one they flunk out at a time when life outside college meant the draft and the jungles of Vietnam.
The Fyzz Facility’s James Harris will produce the new film alongside colleagues Mark Lane, Robert Jones and Wayne Marc Godfrey. The company will also put together the finance.
“We are delighted to be able to tackle material that is reminiscent of classic Stephen King adaptations like ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and ‘Stand By Me,’” says Harris. “This is a wonderful story, and Johannes and Ernest have again proved what fantastic writers they are with a wonderful adaptation of King’s source material. We are excited to start casting for the film and working towards production in 2017.”
“Hearts in Atlantis” served as the title story of King’s 1999 collection of two novellas and three short stories. Despite its title, the 2001 film of the same name, directed by Scott Hicks and starring Anthony Hopkins, took two of the other stories in the collection, “Low Men in Yellow Coats” and “Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling,” as its basis.
Since launching in 2010, The Fyzz Facility, which has offices in London and Los Angeles, has invested more than $110 million in 125 films, with recent credits including Martin Scorsese’s upcoming “Silence,” starring Liam Neeson and Andrew Garfield; Bruce Beresford’s “Mr. Church,” starring Eddie Murphy; and Alexandre Moors’ Iraq war drama, “The Yellow Birds,” featuring an ensemble including Alden Ehrenreich, Tye Sheridan, Jack Huston, Jennifer Aniston, Toni Collette and Jason Patric.
Johannes Roberts is repped by Josh Varney at 42, Phil D’Amecourt and Dana Harris at WME and Keith Redmon of Anonymous Content. Stephen King is repped by Rand Holston of Paradigm.