BEST-SELLING Stourbridge author S J Watson has spoken of his excitement at the news that Hollywood actress Nicole Kidman is to star in the forthcoming film adaptation of his debut novel.

Moulin Rouge and Eyes Wide Shut star Kidman is to play amnesia patient Christine, who wakes each day to find she’s married to a stranger and she’s 20 years older than she remembers, in the movie version of Watson’s best-selling psychological thriller Before I Go To Sleep.

Bafta-winning director Rowan Joffe is directing the film which is currently in pre-production - with movie moguls Sir Ridley Scott and Tony Scott involved as executive producers.

Watson, who grew up in Wordsley, said: "The news that a star like Nicole Kidman will be starring in the film of my book just feels incredibly surreal - and incredibly exciting.

“I can't wait to see what someone with her talent can bring to the role."

The 41-year-old NHS audiology specialist turned author, who attended Ashwood Park Primary and later Buckpool School (now The Wordsley School), said the success of the book, which topped the bestsellers chart for seven weeks earlier this year, had “far, far surpassed expectations”.

In an earlier interview with the News, Steve Watson - as he was known before he took the literary world by storm - said he “used to sort of fantasise that it would be a film one day and that Hollywood actresses would be interested” as he was writing the novel between shifts at St Thomas’s Hospital in London.

Steve, an old boy of Stourbridge’s King Edward VI College, said he never really took his dreams seriously.

But his gamble to send off his manuscript - after a stint on the Faber Academy creative writing course - paid off and the book was snapped up by publishers Transworld.

Having notched up sales in more than 42 countries world-wide, the novel has become one of the most successful debuts ever.

And with To Die For actress Nicole Kidman now on board to help bring to life the compelling and meticulously structured tale, inspired by real-life amnesia cases, Watson’s star looks set to catapult into the stratosphere upon release of the movie in 2013.

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