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WIRE Buzz: Paramount options 'Caster' books for film; Etheria anthology trailer; and Mrs. March

By Josh Weiss
Caster front cover

Paramount Pictures has scooped up the big-screen rights to Elsie Chapman's Caster budding fantasy series of YA novels, Scholastic confirmed today. Akiva Goldsman (Titans) is producing the adaptation under his Weed Road Pictures banner alongside Greg Lessans. Barry Josephson and D. Matt Geller (of Josephson Entertainment) are also on board as producers, as are Scholastic Entertainment President Iole Lucchese and the publisher's SVP/General Manager, Caitlin Friedman.

Published last September, Caster is set in a world where magic is both real and illegal. Using it (a process known as "casting") comes with a terrible cost, as the main character, Aza Wu, very well knows — magic killed her sister, Shire. When Aza is invited to compete in a secret casting tournament, she finds herself caught between investigating police and a dangerous gang leader.

The Wrap writes that readers have described the book as a mixture between Fight Club and Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Caster is a wildly imaginative vision of an earth infused with magic, but with a very grounded and contemporary heroine at its core,” Goldsman said in a statement. “I’m so excited to help bring Aza and her world to life alongside my terrific partners at Josephson, Scholastic Entertainment, and Paramount.”

Caster front cover

Caster is an absolutely thrilling story with twists and turns that keep readers riveted and holding their breath to see what happens next,” added Lucchese. "We are very excited to be working with Josephson Entertainment and Akiva and his team at Weed Road Pictures to bring this exhilarating story to life on screen.”

“With its captivating storyline and strong and resourceful lead female character, Caster is sure to win over audiences, just as it has amassed a large and loyal fanbase of readers,” concluded Josephson (Men in Black). “We’re so pleased to be working with Scholastic Entertainment and Weed Road on this ‘magical’ adventure."

A sequel, Spell Starter, goes on sale Tuesday, Oct. 6.

In June, Scholastic announced a feature adaptation of Animorphs.

Post-apocalyptic westerns, demented comedies, parallel universes, interplanetary kidnapping, and a whole lot of blood and gore await you in Season 1 of Etheria, which just released its first trailer.

Culling its standalone episodes from the very first Etheria Film Festival in 2014, The Horror Collective's genre anthology series shines a spotlight on female filmmakers like: Mae Catt, Sarah Doyle, Jennifer Thym, Erin Li, Rebecca Thomson, Gala Goliani, Kayoko Asakura, and Julia Walter. Heidi Honeycutt (VP of Short Form and Episodic Content at Entertainment Squad, The Horror Collective's parent company) and Stacy Pippi Hammon (Etheria Festival Director) serve as producers.

Watch the trailer now:

 Shannon Woodward (Westworld), Grace Huang (The Man With the Iron Fists), Paula Jai Parker (Hustle & Flow), and Tina Majorino (Napoleon Dynamite) are among the actors you'll see in the first eight episodes. A bonus episode is also on the way.

Season 1 of Etheria arrives on Amazon Thursday, Aug. 20. It'll arrive on VOD 30 days later. Future seasons will draw on selections from subsequent editions of the festival. Learn more here.

After working with producer Jason Blum on Jordan Peele's Us and Leigh Whannell's The Invisible Man, Elisabeth Moss is extending her partnership with Blumhouse.

Today, it was announced that the horror-focused production company is teaming up with Moss's Love and Squalor Pictures for a film adaptation of Virginia Feito's upcoming novel, Mrs. March. Feito has been tapped to write the screenplay. Described as a "psychological thriller," the book tells the story of "a polished Upper East Side housewife who unravels when she begins to suspect the detestable protagonist of her husband's latest bestselling novel is based on her," reads the official synopsis.

Elisabeth Moss

"I read Virginia’s novel in one sitting and was so captured by it I knew I had to make it and play Mrs. March. As a character, she is fascinating, complex, and deeply human and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into her," Moss said in a statement. "Mrs. March is exactly the kind of engaging and challenging female led project that Love And Squalor Pictures is built to make. As a company, we are thrilled to make our debut announcement in the features space as partners with Blumhouse. Having worked with Jason on Us and the company on The Invisible Man, I am constantly struck by their creativity and intelligence. Jason Blum is a powerhouse force in the world of storytelling and I am personally honored to be in the Blumhouse family.”

"Not only is Elisabeth one of the finest actors of her generation but she’s an unabashed fan of genre material and an incredible collaborator. Lindsey and Elisabeth have impeccable taste, when they brought us Mrs. March we jumped at the chance to work with them," added Blum.

Mrs. March is set to go on sale in the U.S. next August.