EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is making a deal with Star Trek 3 writers Patrick McKay and J.D. Payne to rewrite Winter’s Knight, a tentpole hopeful that the studio is fast-tracking in hopes of getting helmers Joachin Ronning and Espen Sandberg to direct it after they complete Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. That film began production two weeks ago.

Winter’s Knight is a Viking-mythology-tinged origin story of St. Nick and Christmas, based on Wizard Of Oz author L. Frank Baum’s 1902 public domain book The Life And Adventures Of Santa Claus. The project sold in a whopping $1 million spec sale for newbie scribes Ben Lustig and Jake Thornton, an auction fueled by the concept and the fact that Ronning and Sandberg were attached and so high on it. Marc Platt and Lawrence Grey are producing and production president Michael De Luca brought it in. Now, the priority is to get it into production later this year.

UTA and Kaplan/Perrone rep the scribes.