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Alma Har’el to Direct Adaptation of Walter Tevis’ ‘Mockingbird’ at Searchlight

”Honey Boy“ director is also producing the feature based on the 1980 science fiction novel

Alma Har’el, the director of “Honey Boy,” is set to direct her passion project, a feature adaptation of the Walter Tevis science fiction novel “Mockingbird” at Searchlight Pictures.

Tevis’ seminal novel from 1980, paints a perilous future of a declining human population all fueled by drugs and electronic bliss. “Mockingbird” will depict a world without art, children or books where humanity’s future hinges on a love triangle between an android, a man and a woman.

J. Miles Dale (“Nightmare Alley,” “The Shape of Water”) and Robert Schwartz (“Iron Will,” “Blizzard”) are producing along with Har’el and her partner Christopher Leggett. Alejandro Laguette and Rafael Marmor are executive producing. 

Taylor Friedman and Cornelia Burleigh are overseeing for Searchlight Pictures, reporting to heads of production and development DanTram Nguyen and Katie Goodson-Thomas. Searchlight is planning a theatrical release for the film.

“Mockingbird” is Har’el’s feature follow-up to her 2019 film “Honey Boy,” which made her the first woman to win the DGA Award for a First-Time Feature Film. She also was nominated for both commercial directing in 2018 and narrative directing in 2020.

“I’ll never forget the first time I read ‘Mockingbird’ on the shore of the Sinai peninsula in Egypt when I was 24-years-old. This book has changed my life and I’ve been pursuing it for over a decade. I knew that Searchlight was the perfect home for it and I’m thrilled they are partnering with me to bring this to the big screen. Walter Tevis wrote a novel that refuses genre and time, choosing instead to awaken every fiber of your being,” Har’el said in a statement. 

“Walter Tevis was a prolific and astute storyteller who wrote novels and short stories that have withstood the test of time,” said Searchlight presidents David Greenbaum and Matthew Greenfield. “’Mockingbird’ is a powerful tale and with the uniquely talented Alma Har’el at the helm of this film, we know it will be brilliant.” 

Tevis is the author of “The Man Who Fell to Earth” from 1963, which was recently adapted into a Showtime series starring Chiwetel Ejiofor. His follow-up to “Mockingbird” was “The Queen’s Gambit” in 1983, which was adapted into the acclaimed Netflix series.

Har’el is currently in production on “Lady in the Lake” for Apple TV+, a limited series that she created and will executive produce and direct all episodes of, starring Natalie Portman and Lupita Nyong’o. Har’el is also the founder of non-profit initiative Free the Work, which was founded as Free The Bid in 2016. Free the Work provides actionable solutions to fight systemic inequalities in film, television, advertising, and media, and advocates on behalf of underrepresented creators. The organization is active in 85 countries.

Paul Hoffman, head of Searchlight Business Affairs, negotiated the deal with Schwartz’s Seismic Pictures, Dale’s Demilo Films, and with Susan Schulman of the Susan Schulman Literary Agency for the Tevis Family Trust. DanTram Nguyen, Taylor Friedman and Cornelia Burleigh are overseeing for Searchlight Pictures, which is planning a theatrical release.

Har’el is represented by the Independent Talent Group, WME, Range Media Partners and Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown.