Though All You Need Is Love, Danish director Susanne Bier's follow-up to her Oscar-winning drama In A Better World, is currently in the midst of post-production, reports on her next efforts are already surfacing. Last week we got word that Bier had signed on to direct Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper in Serena, and now Variety reports that California-based production company Anonymous Content has hired Bier to helm their adaptation of Abraham Verghese's Cutting for Stone. The best-selling novel, which has been published in 25 languages, takes place in 1950s Ethiopia and follows the globetrotting journey of an unconventional family tree.
Sister Mary Joseph Praise is a pious young nun in 1940s India, who meets an arrogant but debonair British doctor, Thomas Stone, while traveling to her missionary post in Yemen. On a tumultuous sea journey she saves his life, and when destiny reunites them years later in a mission in Ethiopia, romance blossoms. Their taboo relationship eventually yields two sons, who experience a tragic childhood after their mother dies and father vanishes. Still, the boys' share their father's gift for healing as well as a preternatural bond with each other; both elements help them cope with the changing cultural landscape of Ethiopia as they mature. The novel was informed by the Ethiopian-born Verghese's own experiences as a doctor, as detailed in his memoir My Own Country, and will be adapted by screenwriter Scott Teems, who wrote and directed the Hal Holbrook-fronted drama That Evening Sun.
This winding narrative that follows two generations of a family that includes twin brothers straightaway reminds me of John Steinbeck's East of Eden, which was essentially cut in half in its 1955 movie adaptation that famously starred James Dean. Therefore Cutting for Stone sounds like it could be a complicated story to translate into a movie. However, Bier is an excellent choice to direct, as she's shown a stunning talent for painting emotionally complex films with implicating visuals over exposition-heavy dialogue. Simply put, with her at the helm, Cutting for Stone could prove captivating.
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Staff writer at CinemaBlend.