Idris Elba to Star in ‘The Mountains Between Us’ as Fox Embraces Colorblind Casting

Charlie Hunnam was previously attached to star in Fox 2000’s adaptation of Charles Martin’s best-selling novel

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After tapping Michael B. Jordan to play the Human Torch in “Fantastic Four,” 20th Century Fox is embracing colorblind casting once again, as Idris Elba is in negotiations to star in adaptation of Charles Martin’s best-selling novel “The Mountains Between Us” for the studio’s Fox 2000 division, an individual familiar with the project has told TheWrap.

The story follows a male doctor and a female writer who’s engaged to be married who both survive a plane crash in the mountains. The doctor suffers broken ribs while she sustains a leg fracture, and he must use his climbing skills to get her down the mountain to safety.

Charlie Hunnam and Rosamund Pike were previously attached to star, but since race isn’t essential to either character, Fox execs thought Elba best suited for the romantic role.

Hany Abu-Assad (“Paradise Now”) is directing from a script by Chris Weitz, who rewrote earlier drafts by J. Mills Goodloe and Scott Frank. Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping of Chernin Entertainment are producing the movie. Fox 2000 executive Marisa Paive will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.

The filmmakers continue to search for the film’s female lead, who is expected to be white, though actresses of all races are currently being considered.

Elba is riding high off two SAG Awards for his turns in “Luther” and Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation,” the latter of which failed to earn him an Oscar nomination, to much consternation among the public.

Elba, who next stars in “Star Trek Beyond,” is nearing a deal to play gunslinger Roland in an adaptation of Stephen King‘s beloved “The Dark Tower.” He also lends his voice to Disney’s live-action “The Jungle Book” and the studio’s animated sequel “Finding Dory.”

He’s represented by WME.