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James Ponsoldt set to write, direct ‘West of Sunset’ about F. Scott Fitzgerald

James Ponsoldt and Mary Elizabeth Winstead in Smashed

Do you have a book about a famous author that you want made into a movie? It seems like James Ponsoldt is your guy, at least if you want it well-made.

Following his recent work about David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour, it seems like Ponsoldt will be adapting a book about another famous author — F. Scott Fitzgerald. This report comes from Deadline on Friday.

Ponsoldt has become a big name with his two films, Smashed and The Spectacular Now, and has garnered praise for The End of the Tour, which stars Jason Segel as Wallace. The first trailer was released last week and the early word is that Segel could find his way on the awards circuit thanks to his work.

According to Deadline, West Of Sunset has been called a novelized biography of The Great Gatsby author when he came to Hollywood to start anew as a screenwriter in 1937. At the time he was a troubled man in poor health, with his finances in tatters and his wife in a mental asylum. His Hollywood foray didn’t go well, and he would die in 1940.

The novel cleverly juxtaposed his time on the MGM lot with flashbacks to his early days as a literary lion. It intersperses characters from Dorothy Parker to Ernest Hemingway and Humphrey Bogart. It was during that Hollywood foray where Fitzgerald wrote most of his last unfinished novel, The Last Tycoon.

Right now, this may not be Ponsoldt’s next project as the director is set to adapt and direct The Circle with Tom Hardy starring. The film was supposed to co-star Ex Machina actress Alicia Vikander, but she dropped out to pursue Assassin’s Creed and the Bourne sequel with Matt Damon. The report adds that Ponsoldt is trying to bring in Emma Watson to fill Vikander’s role.


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