EXCLUSIVE: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller have signed on to develop to direct Artemis, the novel by The Martian author Andy Weir that Fox and New Regency acquired in a splashy deal in May. Simon Kinberg and Aditya Sood will produce through Genre Films, and Steve Asbell is overseeing for the studio. The book will be published November 17 by Crown, and Lord & Miller will work with the studio to set a writer to turn Weir’s latest sci-fi entry into a script.
This is a big priority for project for Fox, which saw the Ridley Scott-directed The Martian become a blockbuster that garnered seven Oscar nominations in 2015, with the book selling more than 3 million copies. That is underscored by landing Lord & Miller, who became available after they exited the Star Wars Han Solo spinoff film. The duo, already writing the animated Spider-Man movie, has been offered numerous projects, including a possible return to The Flash, the film they exited to take the Star Wars job. Instead, they sparked to Weir’s book and the opportunity it gives them to build from scratch a world that is a departure from past directing efforts that have included The Lego Movie and the 21 Jump Street franchise.
Crown describes Artemis as an adrenaline-charged crime caper that features smart, detailed world-building based on real science. It centers on Jasmine Bashara, aka Jazz, just another too-smart, directionless twentysomething chafing at the constraints of her small town and dreaming of a better life. Except the small town happens to be named Artemis — and it’s the first and only city on the moon. She’s got debts to pay, her job as a porter barely covers the rent, and her budding career as a smuggler isn’t exactly setting her up as a kingpin, much to her disappointment. So when the chance at a life-changing score drops in her lap, Jazz can’t say no, and she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself.
Lord & Miller are repped by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham. The deal expands their relationship with Fox, where they have an overall TV deal with 20th Century Fox Television and are behind the series The Last Man on Earth starring Will Forte. The begins its fourth season series next month.