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Development: Michael B. Jordan adapting African fantasy epic; Amblin eyeing urban legend; Sony tackling Rob Liefeld's Shrink

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Feb 7, 2019, 7:52 AM EST (Updated)

Michael B. Jordan has made the leap to producer. The Black Panther actor has picked up the rights to the Marlon James novel Black Leopard, Red Wolf, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The book is the first in a trilogy from James, so it has some serious franchise potential, too.

The story is set in fantastical Africa and follows a slave trader who hires several mercenaries to find a kidnapped boy, and along the way features everything from giants to witches and shape-shifters. Neil Gaiman called it "a fantasy world as well-realized as anything Tolkien made."

It's the first deal Jordan has locked in with his company, Outlier Productions, who signed a first-look deal with Warner Bros. just last month. James, whose book only hit shelves two days ago, will serve as an executive producer. No writer or director has been named as of yet.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

Next up, Variety reports that Steven Spielberg is getting back in the ghost story business. The director's production house, Amblin Partners, is making a movie based on the classic ghost story Spire in the Woods.

The Tony Lunedi story first gained notoriety when it was posted as a series of 10 Reddit articles back in 2013. Now known as The Bells, it's about a teenager searching for what caused his friend’s suicide. However, the more he learns, the more he finds himself captivated by the same alluring, deadly ghost story.

Amblin Partners has teamed with Roy Lee and Jon Berg, who will be producing on behalf of Vertigo Entertainment. Lee's credits include IT and The LEGO Movie, while Berg previously oversaw Warner Bros. DC films including Wonder Woman and Aquaman.

Spielberg himself is poised to have a busy year, as he'll be executive-producing Men in Black International as well as the feature film adaptation of Cats, and directing the West Side Story remake.

(via Variety)

Finally, a movie based on Rob Liefeld's Shrink is back in development at Sony Pictures. Deadline has word that Liefeld will co-produce the film, which is based on his comic book about a female psychiatrist with a host of super-powered clientele.

The title was rediscovered by producer Adam Fields, who sorted through three decades of abandoned Sony projects. The film first came to Sony back in 2000, with Smallfoot scribes Glenn Ficcara and John Requa having penned a script. While the rights to the comic initially lapsed, Sony secured them again after the project was unearthed.

Shrink will have a similar sardonic tone to Deadpool, Liefeld's best-known (and most profitable) creation.

(via Deadline)