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Development news: Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea to be adapted (again); Cory Goodman sells horror thriller spec script to Paramount, more

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May 25, 2018, 2:47 PM EDT

A series of books by the late legendary author Ursula K. Le Guin will be adapted into a series of films, Paramount has just nabbed a horror thriller spec script from Cory Goodman and a pitch about scientist bringing a prehistoric human to the present day gets sold in this edition of Development Roundup. 

First up, Academy Award-nominated producer Jennifer Fox has optioned the film rights to Le Guin’s fantasy book series, Earthsea, Deadline is reporting. 

Earthsea takes place in an archipelago of hundreds of islands endangered by those looking to gain power and control over the islands by abusing and misusing magic. As most of its characters are people of color, one of the series’ main themes is understanding nature and human nature rather than possessing power over them. Plus, there are dragons. And wizards. 

The series was introduced in 1964 with the short story “The Word of Unbinding” and ultimately spanned five books and eight short stories. 

This wouldn’t be the first time that Hollywood has tried to adapt these books. There have been two other attempts, including a 2004 effort by SYFY that didn’t quite fly with Le Guin and another in 2006. But considering Le Guin gave Fox her blessing to adapt her work into a series of films before she passed away in January, perhaps this forthcoming adaptation may more in-step with the author's vision. 

And with HBO’s massively popular Game of Thrones set to end next year, the timing for a new series of dragon-filled fantasy films could not be better. 

Fox produced the Oscar-nominated Michael Clayton starring George Clooney and Nightcrawler starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The author’s son, Theo Downes-Le Guin, is on board to executive produce.

(Via Deadline)  

Meanwhile, Paramount Pictures has just bought a horror thriller spec script The Oberlin Incident by Cory Goodman in what The Hollywood Reporter is reporting to be “a high-six-figure deal.” Safehouse Pictures and Aperture will produce.

Although details on what The Oberlin Incident is about are scarce, the script is being described as “having a high-concept plot featuring a female lead.” Yeah, that is pretty bare bones. But it does sound in-line with his previous work, which includes such supernatural action thriller fare as Underworld: Blood Wars, The Last Witch Hunter and Priest

This is not the first time that Goodman has generated a considerable amount of heat for his work. In 2012, he sold his spec script Lore (co-written with Jeremy Lott) to Warner Bros. Then in 2014, he managed to get Sony to buy his script Hood (also co-written with Lott). Both scripts were sold for seven figures.

And in other spec script news, Amy Pascal, the former Sony executive who produced Spider-Man: Homecoming and formed her own company (Pascal Pictures), has just scooped up a sci-fi thriller from writer Kat Wood, Deadline reports. The pitch, entitled Genius, is about a scientist who accidentally brings back a prehistoric form of human species to the present day.

This deal follows up Pascal buying Wood’s previous sci-fi project, Envoy, last year.

Wood, a former Earth scientist and journalist for the BBC, has made the career switch over to filmmaker and “has been named as one of the U.K.’s rising stars,” Deadline has reported. 

Eric Fineman is the Pascal Pictures executive who brought in both projects from Wood.

In addition to Envoy and Genius, Pascal’s film and television projects include Beneath a Scarlet Sky, Mercury 13, Barbie and Silver & Black.

(Via Deadline)