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Westworld producer plunging into Michael Crichton's 'Sphere' for TV series at HBO

By Josh Weiss
Dustin Hoffman Sphere

After the massive popularity of Westworld, HBO is diving into another Michael Crichton creation: the 1987 novel Sphere. Per Variety, the premium cable network is adapting the book into a new series with Westworld executive producer Denise Thé at the helm.

An epic undersea adventure in the spirit of Jules Verne, Sphere follows a group of scientists who are sent to inspect a mysterious alien craft at the bottom of the ocean. Once there, however, the intellectuals are forced to confront the mind-blowing mysteries of the universe, giant marine creatures, and the terrifying truth that humans can be just as alien as extraterrestrials. Those of us who have read the novel can vividly remember just how trippy the plot becomes, as well as the cliffhanger ending (ah, ah, ah — no spoilers!). It was Crichton's sixth book and published right before his magnum opus: Jurassic Park.

Sphere HBO

Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy will executive-produce the show alongside Robert Downey Jr. and his wife, Susan Downey. Athena Wickham (of Nolan and Joy's Kilter Film banner), Amanda Burrell (of the Team Downey banner), and Warner Bros. Television are also on board.

Sphere was previously adapted into a feature film in 1998. Directed by Barry Levinson (Rain Man, The Bay), the movie co-starred Samuel L. Jackson, Sharon Stone, Dustin Hoffman, Peter Coyote, Liev Schreiber, Queen Latifah, and (believe it or not) Huey Lewis. The movie was a box-office flop and currently holds an abysmal 11 percent on Rotten Tomatoes — though it has taken on a bit of a cult status over the past few decades.

Thé, who moved up to writer on Season 3 of Westworld, has an impressive small-screen résumé that includes: Person of Interest, Gotham, Medium, Cold Case, and Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles.