Heitor Dhalia to Direct Dakota Fanning in Adaptation 'If I Stay'
Most know who Dakota Fanning is, but I'm not sure too many know who Heitor Dhalia is, even though you should. Dhalia is a talented Brazilian filmmaker who directed one of my favorite movies of the last few years, Adrift with Vincent Cassel (watch a trailer), that never got released, not even on DVD. A shame, but apparently someone in Hollywood saw it, because Dhalia has been hired for another new mainstream movie. Summit has set Dhalia to direct (via Variety) and is in talks with Dakota Fanning for an adaptation of Gayle Forman's young adult novel If I Stay, that sounds kind of like The Lovely Bones meets Charlie St. Cloud.
If I Stay is about a young musician named Mia (Fanning) who, while out driving with her family, is suddenly separated from her body and forced to watch the aftermath of the accident that kills her parents and gravely injures her and brother. The book shifts perspectives, then following Mia as she reminisces about significant events and people in her life while her body lies in a coma. The feature adaptation was originally going to be directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), but Dhalia has taken over. Shauna Cross (Whip It) adapted the script from Gayle Forman's novel. This has been a high priority project for Summit for over a year, and now with Fanning involved, it looks like they might've found the right formula to finally get this off the ground.
I know not that many people can speak in support of Heitor Dhalia yet, but trust me, this is one filmmaker to definitely keep an eye on. Although this project sounds like it won't necessarily help him get a lot of geek cred, I'm sure he'll at least be able to show Hollywood what he is capable of in terms of his visual style and emotional character development. And if anything, maybe we'll get a better life/death tale than The Lovely Bones, which turned out pretty bad. Plus, it'll be good to see Fanning stretch her acting chops again, since she really hasn't been in too much recently. I'm definitely going to be following this project as it develops.