BERLIN -- Rising Hollywood star Sophie Nelisse ("The Book Thief," "Monsieur Lazhar") will play the title role in "The Great Gilly Hopkins," joined by Glenn Close, Kathy Bates, Danny Glover and Octavia Spencer ("The Help"). WestEnd Films is selling the pic at the European Film Market in Berlin.
The pic is to be directed by Stephen Herek ("101 Dalmatians," "The Three Musketeers," "Mr. Holland's Opus"), and produced by William Teitler ("What Maisie Knew," "The Polar Express," "Mr. Holland's Opus").
Bob Berney will be distributing in North America through his newly re-vamped Picturehouse. The film will start shooting on April 9.
"Gilly" is the adaptation of Katherine Paterson's young adult Newbery Award winning novel, published in more than 20 territories, and a regular on school curriculums. The 2007 Disney hit adaptation of Paterson's "Bridge to Terabithia" grossed more than $200 million worldwide.
As with "Bridge," "Gilly" has been scripted by David Paterson, who will be producing alongside Teitler and John Paterson. Executive producers William Kay and Peyton Kay round out the producing team.
Pic is co-financed by William Kay and Peyton Kay's Gemmill Media in association with Teitler.
"Gilly" tells the story of a wisecracking, gum-chewing 12-year-old (Nelisse), who is moved from foster home to foster home, outwitting them all. When she is placed in the home of Maime Trotter, the most unorthodox foster mom yet (Bates), Gilly battles her way out, but her life takes an unexpected turn.
West End describes the pic as a "side splitting, cocky and big-hearted story about a headstrong girl who wants to find a place to call home."
"WestEnd Films had a great experience working with Glenn Close on 'Albert Nobbs,' for which she was Oscar nominated as best actress, and we are thrilled she has joined this stellar cast," said Maya Amsellem, m.d. of WestEnd Films.
"Sophie Nelisse -- who was outstanding in 'The Book Thief' - is an ideal match for Gilly's fierce yet endearing character and Oscar-winner Octavia Spencer rounds out a cast of truly extraordinary actors."
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