Nicholas Sparks' 'The Choice' sets Ross Katz as director (EXCLUSIVE)

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'The Choice' by Nicholas Sparks.

LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - Ross Katz ("Adult Beginners") has come on board to direct the movie adaptation of Nicholas Sparks' novel "The Choice."

Sparks is producing with Theresa Park and Peter Safran. Production companies Nicholas Sparks Productions and The Safran Company ("The Conjuring") are producing and financing the film.

Lionsgate acquired the North American and U.K. distribution rights in June. The project is set to begin shooting in October in Wilmington, N.C.

"The Choice," published in 2007, tells the story of a man and a woman who meet first as neighbors in a small coastal town in North Carolina and end up pursuing a relationship that neither could have foreseen. Bryan Sipe has written the screenplay.

Nicholas Sparks Productions recently announced the acquisition of Gale Sayers' life and memoir rights for a feature film to be co-produced with Michael Costigan. 

Katz made his feature film directorial debut in 2009 with HBO's "Taking Chance." He won the DGA award for the TV movie and a WGA award for the screenplay. 

Katz's "Adult Beginners," starring Rose Byrne, Nick Kroll and Bobby Cannavale, will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. He was twice nominated as a producer in the Academy Award Best Picture category for "In the Bedroom" and "Lost in Translation."

"The Choice" is the 11th Nicholas Sparks novel to have been made into a film, including "The Best of Me" and "The Longest Ride," which are currently in post-production. Other Sparks novels that have gone to the big screen include " The Notebook," "Message in a Bottle," "A Walk to Remember," "Dear John" and "The Lucky One."

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