Robert Lantos to Produce ‘In the Skin of a Lion,’ Tom Hopper to Direct

Robert Lantos, the veteran Canadian producer of David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future,” is set to produce a film adaptation of novelist Michael Ondaatje’s “In the Skin of a Lion,” with Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”) on board to direct. Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning writer of “Slumdog Millionaire,” penned the adaptation.

The movie was co-developed by Lantos’ Toronto-based Serendipity Point Films, and Film4. Amazon Studios has boarded the project. Casting is underway.

Set in Toronto in the 1920s and 1930s, “In the Skin of a Lion” weaves romance, mystery and adventure through the story of Patrick Lewis, who arrives in Toronto and earns a living searching for a vanished millionaire. His life intersects with the orphaned girl Hana and the thief Caravaggio, who reappear in “The English Patient,” Ondaatje’s award-winning novel that was adapted into Anthony Minghella’s Oscar-winning movie with Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes.

“As with ‘Crimes of the Future,’ ‘In the Skin of a Lion’ is a project that I’ve been developing for 20 years, ever since I read Ondaatje’s magnificent book,” said Lantos, who added that the movie will be “very ambitious and epic in size.”

“It’s a big story of class struggle, class conflict and romance set 100 years ago,” said the producer, who bought rights to the book in the 1990s and worked with several writers over the years. “It’s a difficult book to adapt and Michael Ondaatje chose Simon Beaufoy to reinvent the story in cinematic language,” Lantos said.

Lantos will also be re-teaming with Cronenberg on a film adaptation of his 2014 book “Consumed.” Serendipity Point Films’s bullish slate also includes “Rise of the Raven,” a 10-hour series about the 1456 Battle of Belgrade.