Derek Cianfrance, best known for his devastatingly emotional breakout film Blue Valentine, is set to direct the adaptation of M.L. Stedman’s international best-seller The Light Between Oceans, DreamWorks Studios announced Tuesday.
Set immediately after World War I, Stedman’s novel follows a couple on a remote Australian island who discover a wrecked boat housing an infant and a dead man. The couple, who have faced a number of miscarriages, decide to keep and raise the little girl, which results in harrowing consequences. DreamWorks had been after the rights to the novel since November 2012 and are poised to begin moving forward now that Cianfrance is onboard.
“With his previous work, Derek has exhibited a deft touch when handling complex and emotional subject matter,” said production president Holly Bario in the press release announcing the news.
“We have been ardent fans of Derek here at DreamWorks and were looking for a project on which we could collaborate,” said Stacey Snider, co-chair and CEO of DreamWorks Studios. “We certainly believe he can make a modern epic from M.L.’s poignant novel and will be able to capture the great epic sweep and emotional honestly of this story.”
After gut-punching the film world with a portrait of a marriage in turmoil with Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, he re-teamed with Gosling for his generational epic The Place Beyond the Pines, released in theaters earlier this year. Although Cianfrance hasn’t tried his hand at adapting a book for the big screen yet, the subjects of marriage, parenting, and despair are well within his often emotionally wrecking wheelhouse. Now we can all begin hoping he’ll choose to cast Gosling in the lead role once more.