In this development roundup, everyone’s favorite fake alcoholic surgeon from the 1990s (and least-favorite Batman?) may direct a sci-fi thriller for Fox, Robert Zemeckis plans to remake a Roald Dahl classic, and a development company with Wall Street ties has picked up a horror script about marriage. So, what are we waiting for?
First up, George Clooney (Gravity, Batman & Robin) is in early talks with 20th Century Fox to direct Echo, an original sci-fi thriller written by Christopher MacBride. Although Deadline is reporting that these talks are in the very early stages, the reporter is confident that “a deal will happen.”
Echo is about a drone specialist who suspects that his lover may have been replaced, pod person-style. Either that or he’s going crazy and becoming massively paranoid.
The film is produced by Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, and Dan Cohen from 21 Laps, the production company behind Arrival and Stranger Things.
Up next, Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) is set to write and direct Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Witches, according to Variety.
The film, based on the 1973 novel, follows a 7-year-old boy who encounters witches. This will be Warner Bros.' second adaptation of Dahl’s book, after their 1990 film directed by Nicolas Roeg and starring Anjelica Huston. Variety is reporting that Zemeckis’ version plans to be more faithful to the source material, while the previous effort was more of a loose adaptation.
Zemeckis’ partner Jack Rapke will produce the film through their ImageMovers banner, along with Oscar winners Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity) and Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water).
And finally, Deadline has revealed that development and finance company MajorJazz has bought The Black Room, a spec script written by Grady Hendrix and Nicholas Rucka described as a “paranormal horror” about “marriage, deceit, and the constant intrusion of the past into the present.”
The Black Room is set in the 1970s and follows two rivals -- a disgraced parapsychologist grieving over the loss of his wife, and his former mentor who's now a professional debunker -- as they investigate a medium who claims she can speak to the dead.
The acquisition of this script follows a series of movie deals for Hendrix. Just recently, his supernatural dark comedy spec script Satanic Panic was acquired by Fangoria. And two of his novels, Horrorstor and My Best Friend’s Exorcism, are also currently in development.
Jon Shestack (Before I Fall) and Michael Richter and James Shifren of MajorJazz will produce. MajorJazz has ties to both Wall Street and Silicon Valley.