`Precious` helmer to direct `Anna in the Tropics`

Los Angeles: `Precious` director Lee Daniels is all set to develop the big screen adaptation of Nilo Cruz and Steinberg`s Pulitzer-winning Broadway play.

Daniels has been roped in to direct `Anna in the Tropics`, to be produced by John Torres Martinez and Joe Lamy of Austin-based Mankind Entertainment.

The film`s story is set in 1920s Tampa, then the seat of cigar-making industry and featured an imported Cuban tradition of lectors reading to workers. Inspired by Tolstoy`s Anna Karenina, Tropics centers on a family of cigar rollers whose lives are changed by the power of literature, the Hollywood Reporter said.

The play became a huge success and was nominated for two Tonys and has been translated and produced in various countries.

Daniels will develop the script with the Cuban-born Cruz while he also works on his civil rights project Selma.

"I always saw it as a film. Even though I wrote is as a play, I just think it has endless possibilities as a film.

The play itself is full of images and I want to open it up to the world film offers," the Cuban author said.

Cruz and Daniels will meet in January to begin work on the project. Cruz already seems a fan of Daniels `Precious` which was about a child, abused by her parents.

"I loved his use of fantasy and quotidian life in Precious. It was a wonderful combination. I think my piece also deals with similar level of reality," says Cruz.