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Film Plans for Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion Take Shape

Michael Ondaatje/Photo © Linda Spalding

Michael Ondaatje’s celebrated 1987 novel, In the Skin of a Lion, is set for a feature film adaptation. According to a report from Deadline, Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “Everest”) has been tapped to pen the script.

Michael Ondaatje is best known for his 1992 novel, The English Patient, which won the Booker Prize and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. With In the Skin of a Lion, Ondaatje turned his attentions to the plight of immigrants. The novel is a fictionalized account of the immigrant workers who were integral to the building of Toronto in the early 1900s but whose contributions went largely unrecognized. The novel is a seamless blend of history and fiction with Ondaatje’s characteristic blend of adventure and poignant romance. Additionally, In the Skin of a Lion introduced the characters of David Caravaggio and Hana, both of whom reappear in The English Patient. Juliette Binoche won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as Hana in the “The English Patient.”

The addition of Simon Beaufoy as screenwriter for the project should be welcome news to fans of Ondaatje. Beaufoy seems to have a particularly deft hand with adaptations; his credits include: “127 Hours,” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen,” and several others. He took home an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2009 and is currently working on a miniseries adaptation of John le Carre’s The Spy Who Came in From the Cold with the BBC.