Jonathan Cape/William Michael Anderson
David Hillary’s Deviant Films has hired screenwriter Matthew Wilder to adapt AUTO-DA-FE, the lone novel by Elias Canetti, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1981, the Tracking Board has exclusively learned.
Canetti’s Auto-da-Fé is a harrowing and macabrely comic novel about a reclusive academic who lives in a world of books and ideas. When he marries his illiterate housekeeper, it is believed he is taking advantage of her, but her own secret power tilts their relationship in strange and unexpected directions.
Wilder and Hillary last collaborated on Paul Schrader’s critically acclaimed crime film Dog Eat Dog, which was also based on a novel (by Eddie Bunker). Nicolas Cage and Willem Dafoe starred in that film, which debuted at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight last year.
“Matthew Wilder is an ideal choice for Auto-da-Fé’s mix of nightmarish humor and pathos, and we believe this picture, which will have a major European auteur at the helm, will establish Canetti to a wide audience as one of the twentieth century’s major voices,” said Hillary.
It remains a mystery who Hillary is courting to direct Auto-da-Fé, but the producer aims to have the film stand in the tradition of classic European arthouse cinema, and production is slated to start in 2018.
Formerly of Muse Productions, Hillary boasts credits that span from Spun to Asia Argento’s The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, while Wilder is currently directing Regarding the Case of Joan of Arc for Monte Carlo Pictures, which recently cast Nicole LaLiberte (Twin Peaks) in the title role.
Both Wilder and Hillary are represented by Jon Brown at Ensemble Entertainment. Wilder is also repped by APA. Canetti’s estate is repped by Zurich’s Marc Koralnik at Liepman Agency.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief