EXCLUSIVE: Joe Cornish, who has been offered a ton of projects since his alien invasion breakthrough film Attack The Block, has been set to write and direct the Neal Stephenson novel Snow Crash. The book has just been reacquired by Paramount Pictures, with Kathleen Kennedy and Kennedy/Marshall producing.

It’s the second go around on the project for Paramount, which first developed the book back when it was published in 1992. It is a big bestseller and a seminal cyber-punk book that probably was ahead of its time. The book is set in the near future, when the U.S. exists as a patchwork of corporate-franchise city-states, and private enterprise and the mafia control everything. The plot involves a computer virus that is manifested as a drug called Snow Crash that is transmitted visually from computer screens to unsuspecting users, frying their brains. Hiro Protagonist – that’s the character’s name – a computer hacker/samurai swordsman/pizza delivery driver who investigates and tries to stop the takeover of postmodern civilization. It sounds wild, but it is steeped in its own mythology and has become a cult favorite among the cyberpunk set. Paramount dropped the project years ago and it went to Disney with Kennedy/Marshall and languished. Kennedy introduced Cornish to the book, he committed and it is now back at Paramount and is a priority. Cornish is repped by CAA and Independent Talent and the book was repped by CAA for the lit agency  Darhansoff & Verrill.