The Former Focus Features CEO has written screenplays and directed a short but never a feature – now that is about to change with his Philip Roth adaptation Indignation.
Likely Story is attached to produce and Schamus will serve as a producer alongside Anthony Bregman.
Production is set to commence in summer 2015 in New York on the 1951-set story of the idealistic son of a kosher butcher who leaves New Jersey for a conservative Ohio college where he battles anti-semitism, sexual repression and lusts after a troubled girl.
Avy Eschenasy and Stefanie Azpiazu will serve as executive producers on Indignation for Likely Story.
“Marcus Messner is an extraordinary character, heartbreakingly open and alive, and Anthony Bregman is an extraordinary producer, heartstoppingly economical,” said Schamus. “Bringing them together for my first feature as a director is as felicitous a match as I could ever hope for.”
Bregman added: “It’s been two decades since I met and first started working with James, and I’ve noticed that he’s still figuring out what he wants to be when he grows up. But in the process, he’s used his boundless creative energy to build two landmark companies, produce dozens of visionary films, and write brilliant, acclaimed screenplays.
“His adaptation of Philip Roth’s powerful novel is a delight on its own, and his new shift to directing is a tantalising prospect for anybody who loves movies.”
Schamus earned an Oscar nomination for his producer role on Brokeback Mountain and has also produced Hulk, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, The Pianist and The Kids Are All Right.
His writing credits include Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, for which he shared an adapted screenplay Oscar nomination, as well as The Ice Storm, Eat Drink Man Woman and The Wedding Banquet.
Bregman’s recent films include awards season contender Foxcatcher, as well as Every Secret Thing, Begin Again and Enough Said.