Element Pictures producing update of Emma Donoghue’s acclaimed novel; UTA reps US rights.

Lenny Abrahamson (Frank, What Richard Did, Garage) has committed to direct the film adaptation of the international bestseller Room, with a script by author Emma Donoghue, and Ed Guiney of Element Pictures producing.

The shoot is set for the second half of 2014.

Shortlisted for the Man Booker, Orange and Commonwealth Prizes, Room has sold 2.5 million copies in English and appeared in 35 other languages.

The novel tells the story of Jack, a five-year-old growing up somewhere in America in an 11-by-11-foot shed he believes to be the whole world; his playful, devoted young mother has shielded him from the truth that they are captives.

Abrahamson, who is currently in post-production on feature Frank, starring Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Fassbender, said: “Room is an extraordinary novel - deeply original, harrowing, full of moments of almost unbearable tension, but also - and this is what is so special about it - profoundly life-affirming.

“From the moment I read it I wanted to make it for the screen and so I am truly delighted to be working with Emma on the film adaptation.”

Donoghue, who lives in Canada, began writing the screenplay soon after the book was published: “It wasn’t just Lenny’s award-winning, impeccably honest films that won me over, but a ten-page letter he sent me, describing with passionate intelligence his vision of how to translate my novel into cinema,” she added.

“As an Irish company with strong international relationships, Element has a track record of combining artistic integrity and commercial appeal, which gives me confidence that Room is going to be something very special.’

Guiney (The Guard, Shadow Dancer), who has been involved in the production of all of Abrahamson’s films, commented: “From the moment we first encountered Room we were entranced by the story and the possibility of making it as a film. I couldn’t be more excited about what Lenny and Emma will do in adapting this remarkable novel for the screen.”

Donoghue’s screen agent for Room, United Talent Agency negotiated the film rights on behalf of the author and publishing agents Kathy Anderson in New York and Caroline Davidson in London.

UTA is also representing North American rights in the film and will work with Element on its financing.