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"Sand And Fog" Takes Hollywood By Storm

"Sand And Fog" Takes Hollywood By StormTwo Oscar winners sign on to shoot the big-screen adaptation of Tufts lecturer Andre Dubus III's critically acclaimed and best-selling novel.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.04.02] Several of Hollywood's biggest studios entered a fierce bidding war last week for the rights to distribute the film adaptation of Andre Dubus III's "The House of Sand and Fog." Already a critical and commercial smash success, the Tufts lecturer's novel promises to be a big screen hit, backed by the talent of two Oscar-winning stars.

Dreamworks and Signpost Films out-bid United Artists, Universal Pictures and several other studios to acquire writer-director Vadim Perelman's adaptation of Dubus's best-selling novel.

"Perelman will direct the project, with Oscar winners Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley on board to topline," reported the Hollywood Reporter.

The $15 million project is expected to start production as early as this summer.

Stewart Till, who heads Signpost Films, said Dubus' novel is the basis for what he expects to be a very powerful film.

"We all read really bad scripts, not-so-bad scripts and good scripts," he told the Reporter. "And once every few years, you read a breathtakingly wonderful script, and that was my reaction to this project. It's the best script I've read in a long time -- it's just impeccably impressive."

Readers around the world seem to have had a similar reaction to the Tufts lecturer's novel, which was published in 1999.

Fueled by its selection for Oprah Winfrey's book club, "The House of Sand and Fog" spent 20 weeks on the New York Times' Bestseller List, hitting the No. 1 position in January of 2001.

Just one day after the Oprah episode on the novel aired, Dubus' book sold 15,000 copies in Australia alone.

But director Vadim Perelman had his eyes on the project long before Dubus' novel hit Oprah's famous list. While in an airport in 1999, he picked up the book and immediately saw its potential.

"I had this fantasy of making a movie under the radar, but the script turned out so well that that became impossible, and now I have to perform," the 38-year-old director told Daily Variety. Most of his work to date has been directing videos and commercials.

"My commercial work got me noticed, but I despaired over the crap that was offered to me, that didn't reflect my soul at all," he told Variety. Dubus' novel, he said, had a lot more to offer.

The project also offers Dubus a new opportunity as well -- his big screen acting debut. The writer will have a walk-on part alongside Oscar-winners Kingsley and Connelly.

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