EXCLUSIVE: Media Rights Capital has made a pre-emptive acquisition of the Jonathan Lethem novel As She Climbed Across the Table, in a package that has David Cronenberg directing, Bruce Wagner writing and Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch producing. Lethem is the author of Motherless Brooklyn.

The novel is a love triangle among an academic, his particle-physicist girlfriend, and the black hole that comes as the result of her lab experiments to replicate the origins of the universe. The physicist dumps her boyfriend to spend all her time with the black hole — which she calls Lack — and the university professor will do anything to win her back, even confronting his rival for her affections and risking a trip down a cosmic rabbit hole. The premise has comedic and thriller elements, and Film Rites brought it first to Cronenberg, who has covered dangerous and creepy obsessions in films ranging from The Fly to Crash and Dead Ringers. The film reteams Cronenberg with Wagner. Cronenberg was exec producer on Wagner’s adaptation of his own novel, I’m Losing You.

Media Rights Capital would not disclose whether it will mount the movie in its financing and output deal with Universal, or broker a deal to a studio before production begins. MRC is currently in production on the Neill Blomkamp-directed Elysium, the futuristic thriller that stars Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, Alice Braga and Sharlto Copley. Cronenberg is about to unveil his latest film, A Dangerous Method, on the festival circuit with Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley and Michael Fassbender starring. He just wrapped the Robert Pattinson-starrer Cosmopolis, based on the Don DeLillo novel. Cronenberg is repped by WME and Sentient Entertainment, Wagner by ICM.