Kristen Stewart may have become tabloid fodder in recent days, but the 22-year-old seems decidedly committed to being taken seriously as an actress: Vulture hears exclusively that Stewart has landed the lead role in an indie adaptation of William Styron’s 1951 novel, Lie Down In Darkness. Directed by Crazy Heart helmer Scott Cooper and set in genteel fifties Virginia, Lie Down will have Stewart play Peyton Loftis. As part of a dysfunctional and disintegrating family, Peyton is constantly compared to her crippled sister, Maudie, and her intense physical beauty makes her the object of her frigid mother’s jealous hatred and the target of her father’s incestuous, alcoholic lust. (Stewart will also appear in another fifties-era film, Walter Salles's On the Road, when it's released in the U.S. sometime this fall/winter.)
The part of Peyton had been coveted by Jennifer Lawrence, but Lawrence will spend the better part of the next year shooting sequels. (Catching Fire ignites this fall, while a new X-Men film at Fox commences shooting in January.) Set up at Open Road Media*, Darkness has been in development for years by producer Jeff Sharp (You Can Count on Me, Proof) and while it’s unclear how soon it might start production, this is a major casting hurdle cleared.
Meanwhile, less clear is what will become of Universal Pictures’ planned sequel to Stewart’s Snow White and the Huntsman. In April, before the film’s June release, Deadline reported that David Koepp, Hollywood’s go-to screenwriter for blockbusters like Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible, and Spider-Man, had been retained to write a script for a Huntsman sequel. “The word is the studio hopes to fast track the project so that Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders can make it the next project he directs,” wrote Deadline.
But the sequel’s future has naturally been complicated by Stewart’s admission of an affair (of some sort) with the married Sanders, her director on the film. Could (or would) the two ever reteam? A Universal source insists that “nothing has changed and we are still looking at sequel options that would include Rupert directing.”
Calls to David Koepp were not returned, but as one agency insider noted, it would be highly irregular for a screenwriter of Koepp’s renown to continue work on a project that didn’t have a director attached to oversee its progress to the screen, lending credence to the idea that Sanders remains the intended director. Agency sources say that Universal hasn’t yet sought any other candidates to replace Sanders.
Calls to Snow White and the Huntsman producers Joe Roth and Palak Patel as well as to Sander’s agents also went unreturned; Stewart’s agency declined to comment on her future film plans.