Monday, 28 September 2009

Twilight's Meyer Tackles Adult Pic Fare With Niccol

Producers Nick Wechsler, Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz have used their own money to acquire screen rights to “The Host,” the first adult novel written by Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series.

Andrew Niccol will write the script and direct.

Meyer’s novel is a love story set in the near future on Earth, which has been assimilated by an alien species that call themselves “Souls.” They are benevolent parasites that subsume the conscious of humans and take possession of their bodies. One such soul, The Wanderer (so named because she has wandered among so many different worlds) is fused with a dying human named Melanie Stryder, in an attempt to locate the last pocket of surviving humans on Earth. The Wanderer cannot subsume the forceful Melanie, and they battle for the girl’s memories and her spirit.

Wechsler and the Schwartz’ are separately teamed on “The Road,” the John Hillcoat-directed adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel that will be released November 25 by The Weinstein Company. They are also producing the Paul Schrader-scripted “The Dying of the Light,” and an adaptation of the Pete Takada book “An Eye at the Top of the World,” which is being adapted by Ryne Douglas Pearson.

They will develop the project independently.

The trio wanted to make a science fiction film and fixed on “The Host.” In addition to writing four volumes of the “Twilight” series, Meyer has been heavily involved in the blockbuster screen transfers, and she spurned several overtures for “The Host.” The producers continued lobbying the author and her reps at UTA and The Writers House with a significant offer, a strong vision for the project, and a collaborative spirit. Meyer eventually said yes.

In fact, Niccol first came under consideration after Wechsler and the Schwartz’ asked Meyer her favorite science fiction films, and “Gattaca” and “The Truman Show” were in her top five. Niccol wrote and directed “Gattaca” and scripted the Peter Weir-directed “The Truman Show.”

Niccol read the book, met the producers and author, and the New Zealand-born writer/director sparked to the assignment.

“We wanted Stephenie to be involved in the adaptation, and have her endorse and be part of the creative decisions,” Wechsler said. “`Twilight’ has proven she more more about what works than most.”

Summit releases the second installment of Meyers’s vampire series, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” on November 20.

Niccol is repped by CAA.


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