Terry Gilliam, in Cannes on the main jury, has teamed with producer Jeremy Thomas on Tideland, an adaptation of US author Mitch Cullin's dark twist on child fantasies such as The Wizard Of Oz and Alice In Wonderland.
The often surreal story of a girl who flees from Los Angeles to a farm in Texas is shaping up as either the maverick director's next project or his first after Renaissance Films' Good Omens. Screenwriter Tony Grisoni is currently putting together the finishing touches to the first draft of Tideland, along with collaborating with Gilliam on Good Omens.
Budgeted at an estimated $20m, Tideland revolves around Jeliza-Rose, a girl who moves to her grandparent's farm What Rocks after her mother dies from a drugs overdose. She escapes into a fantasy world of disembodied Barbie heads, monster sharks swimming down railroad tracks and bog men who awaken at dusk.
'[Gilliam and I] have tried to work together before on various occasions and I am thrilled to be starting this project,' said Thomas, whose credits include Sexy Beast, Crash and The Last Emperor. 'Mitch Cullin's cult novel is such an evocative story of a young girl's journey.'
Through his international sales operation HanWay, Thomas has now assembled enough buyers for his Coen brothers' project To The White Sea to shoot early next year. Brad Pitt has committed, while distributors are understood to include Twentieth Century Fox for the US, Bac for France, Gaga for Japan and Medusa for Italy.
Thomas is aiming for an August shoot for David Mackenzie's Young Adam, an adaptation of Scottish beat writer Alexander Trocchi's 1954 existential thriller. HanWay has just started representing the project, which stars Ewan McGregor.