EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has acquired The Hunger, a proposal for a novel that will be scripted and directed by Luke Scott, whose feature debut Morgan will be released September 2 by Fox. The book is a riff on the historical tale of the Donner Party, infusing one of the more spectacular and bizarre tragedies in American history with a Walking Dead-style twist.

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The novel is being created by New York-based content developer Paper Lantern Lit, and it will be written by Alma Katsu, a former CIA analyst and author of The Taker. Publishing rights were just won in a pre-emptive six-figure deal by Sally Kim, editorial director of G.P. Putnam’s Sons (in her first acquisition at the imprint), and The Hunger will be published in early 2018. Ridley Scott’s Scott Free will produce it, and Fox exec Steve Asbell is overseeing it.

Luke Scott worked his way up to features after mixing commercial directing with second-unit directing stints on several of his father’s features including the upcoming Alien: Covenant, The Martian and Exodus. He also is responsible for shooting the stand-alone marketing virals on Prometheus, The Martian and Alien: Covenant.

Lauren Oliver and Lexa Hillyer, co-founders of Paper Lantern Lit, will be executive producers on The Hunger. Oliver, also an author, just had her first novel Before I Fall adapted by Awesomeness Films, with Zoey Deutch starring and Ry-Russo Young directing. Open Road Films will release it next year.

UTA reps Oliver and Paper Lantern Lit, which made the deal. They are additionally repped by Inkwell Management. UTA also reps Scott.