Score one for the self-published author. In a bidding war comparable to the recent “50 Shades of Grey” face-off, 20th Century Fox has acquired the film rights for Hugh Howey‘s self-published, post-apocalyptic e-book, “Wool.” Originally started as a stand-alone story in 2011, fervor over Howey’s work led to more installments, the first five of which have been compiled into a omnibus edition. Howey self-published “Wool” through Amazon, and, after positive word-of-mouth, sold over 140,000 copies through e-book in just under six months. Not bad for a guy who worked as a yacht captain for eight years before pursuing a literary career (can’t make stuff like that up).
Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free are partnering with Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch for the film version of “Wool,” which is set on a decimated Earth and follows the remains of humanity living in an enormous silo. Fox is clearly setting its sights on more sci-fi and genre-based material after finding success last year with “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and looking to continue that success this summer with Ridley’s “Prometheus.” To that end, Film Rites has just signed a two-year agreement with Fox to help shepherd more sci-fi flicks and thrillers for the studio, with some commercial, true-life stories thrown in as well. Film Rites is already developing the thriller “Deep Water” at Fox with screenwriter Zach Helm (“Stranger Than Fiction“) adapting the screenplay from Patricia Highsmith‘s novel.
Meanwhile, over at Summit, director Alex Proyas (“Dark City“) is in talks to helm “Gods of Egypt,” which he will co-write with Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless. Proyas has worked with the screenwriting duo on “Dracula Year Zero,” which, at one point, Proyas was going to direct until he moved forward with the 3-D CGI-heavy adaptation of “Paradise Lost.” Once ‘Paradise’ was ultimately canceled, “Dracula Year Zero” had already moved on with another director.
Instead, Proyas will work on “Gods of Egypt,” which will be set against the legendary world of great pyramids and sphinxes, and will follow a god and a common thief on a magical quest. If that sounds intriguing, we suggest you don’t hold your breath — Proyas is already committed to direct an adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein‘s “The Unpleasant Profession Of Jonathan Hoag” and will likely shoot that first.
Speaking of “The Crow” (which we weren’t, but Proyas directed the original, hence the segue), the reboot is still in the works at Relativity Media with director F. Javier Gutierrez, but screenwriter Jesse Wigutow (“Eragon“) is already moving on to his next gig: adapting the best-selling children’s novel “Peter and the Starcatchers” for Disney.
Written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, “Peter and the Starcatchers” provides the backstory for Disney’s iconic character of Peter Pan. A stage version is currently running on Broadway, and recently scored 9 Tony Award nominations. It would seem that Wigutow is concentrating on the book and not the musical adaptation, but we’re sure that’s a conversation that Disney will have at some point, if they haven’t already. No word on a director yet, and depending on whether the show will win Best Play, we expect “Peter and the Starcatchers” to remain in development for a while. [Deadline/THR/Variety/Deadline]