Emma Watson to Star Opposite Tom Hanks in James Ponsoldt’s ‘The Circle’ (Exclusive)

The “Harry Potter” actress has lined up the Dave Eggers adaptation once she wraps “Beauty and the Beast”

Emma Watson is set to play the lead opposite Tom Hanks in James Ponsoldt‘s next movie “The Circle,” which is a co-production between Playtone and Likely Story, TheWrap has learned.

Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now”) adapted the novel written by Dave Eggers and will also produce with Playtone’s Hanks and Gary Goetzman and Likely Story’s Anthony Bregman.

Watson will play a young woman who’s hired for a big job in an Internet monopoly called the Circle, which links users’ personal emails, social media, banking, and purchasing with their universal operating system, resulting in one online identity and a new age of civility and transparency. It’s there that she meets a mysterious older man, who will be played by two-time Oscar winner Hanks.

Eggers’ novel turns into a contemporary thriller about the perils of life in a digital age where personal data is collected, sifted and monetized and used for surveillance, rendering privacy obsolete.

Emma Watson is one of my favorite actors, and her incredible talent, sensitivity, and deep intelligence will bring an electric energy to ‘The Circle,'” said Ponsoldt.

“The Circle” will be financed by Image Nation, which is also presenting the film in association with Parkes MacDonald Productions. IM Global is handling international sales on the film, while CAA and UTA are co-repping domestic rights. Production will begin in September in California before Hanks segues to Clint Eastwood‘s “Sully.”

Alicia Vikander had been attached to star in “The Circle” but she dropped out after agreeing to co-star in the next Jason Bourne movie. Watson is considered a more proven commodity at the box office thanks to her turn as Hermione in the blockbuster “Harry Potter” franchise.

Watson will segue to “The Circle” once she wraps Disney’s live-action “Beauty and the Beast,” in which she stars alongside Dan Stevens and Luke Evans. She next stars opposite Ethan Hawke in Alejandro Amenabar’s thriller “Regression,” and she has also wrapped the indie thriller “Colonia,” in which she stars opposite Daniel Bruhl.

Watson is represented by WME, Untitled Entertainment and Markham, Froggatt and Irwin.

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