EXCLUSIVE: 2oth Century Fox and Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps made a big book acquisition in pre-empting the Raymond A. Villareal novel A People’s History Of The Vampire Uprising. Levy and Dan Cohen will produce. The book just sold to Little, Brown in a four-publisher auction; it was landed by Josh Kendall at Little, Brown imprint Mulholland Books, and will be published next year. Fox got the jump and made the preemptive film deal while Sony circled for Josh Bratman’s Immersive Pictures, Universal for Robert Kirkman’s Skybound, and Lionsgate for 3 Arts.
The book is most easily characterized as a World War Z with vampires. The novel is an “oral history” of the appearance, assimilation, and ultimately epic and violent confrontation of vampires with the human race. It chronicles the rise of the vampires, who call themselves “The Gloaming,” from multiple points of view: the CDC investigator who discovers a mysterious virus; the FBI agent who forms the first Gloaming Crimes Unit; a civil rights attorney’s analysis of the Gloaming Equal Rights Act; an obsessive Vatican librarian; and even TMZ.
Levy’s 21 Laps is coming off an elevated genre triumph in the Denis Villenueve-directed Arrival, which has grossed $191 million worldwide and is up for eight Oscars, including Best Picture. 21 Laps is also coming off PGA and SAG wins for its Netflix series Stranger Things, and the Bryan Cranston-James Franco Fox comedy Why Him? grossed $114 million on a $35 million budget.
This comes as Paramount just announced it has pulled its World War Z sequel off the release schedule for a June 9 release, as Brad Grey and producer-star Brad Pitt continue to prevail upon his Fight Club director David Fincher to take the leap into the continuation of the epic zombie saga. They’ve been talking with Fincher since last fall, and landing him continues to be a big studio priority if it doesn’t bust the budget. WWZ is based on the Max Brooks oral history postmortem novel about a global zombie infestation. The screen adaptation was a troubled shoot which required a significant re-shoot of a new third act. Despite a budget reported at near $190 million, WWZ ultimately was considered a success with a $540 million global gross.
CAA brokered the Vampire’s Uprising movie deal and Dan Lazar of Writers House made the publishing sale.