Akiva Goldsman has been trying to make a feature film adaptation of Mark Helprin's A Winter's Tale for the better part of a decade. Setting the project up at Warner Bros., the writer/producer even got to the casting stage last year before the project fell apart. Now resurrected, thanks to Goldsman's colleagues (and superstars) Will Smith and Russell Crowe accepting small roles, A Winter's Tale again finds itself at the casting stage and will begin testing several rising stars for the romantic lead roles.

THR announced that Goldsman, who not only wrote the script but also plans to make his directorial debut, will be testing Tom Hiddleston (who you might have seen as Loki in today's brand new Avengers trailer) and Benjamin Walker (the lead in Timur Bekmambetov's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) for the part of the male protagonist, an Irish thief who falls in love with a sickly heiress. Hiddleston impresses in everything he's done, whether working on major superhero movies or one of Woody Allen's comedies, and Walker got nothing but raves for his work on the stage, so I'm sure the pictures in good hands no matter what direction they take.

The week after Goldsman and company test the male actors, they will apparently start to see actresses for the other lead role, that of the dying young heiress. The women set to test are Snow White herself Lily Collins (from the upcoming Mirror Mirror) as well as Jessica Brown Findlay (Sybil on Downton Abbey) and Bella Heathcote (who has roles in Cogan's Trade and Dark Shadows). It seems like Collins would be perfect but with Heathcote's two high profile projects coming out this year (one with Brad Pitt, the other with Johnny Depp), perhaps this is the perfect time to cast her in a leading role? As far as the A-list actors who helped revive the adaptation, Crowe will play a ruthless mobster and Smith will apparently make a cameo as a judge. Goldsman has a spotty track-record but his work on television's underrated Fringe makes him sound like a good fit for this fantasy adaptation.

Here's the official synopsis (with possible spoilers?) from the author's website,
Though immensely complicated, the story is centered upon Peter Lake, a turn-of-the-century Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house, and who eventually will die young and in his arms. His love for her, and a gift of grace, will allow him after the most extraordinary and painful explorations and discoveries to stop time and bring back the dead.

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