EXCLUSIVE: Skydance has set the Apollo 13 team of writer Bill Broyles, director Ron Howard and producer Brian Grazer for an adaptation of bestselling author Neal Stephenson’s sci-fi novel Seveneves. Grazer and Howard’s Imagine Entertainment is producing the ambitious adaptation.
The 2015 book centers on a catastrophic event that renders Earth a ticking time bomb, and nations band together to devise a plan to ensure the survival of humanity in outer space. Five thousand years later, their progeny — seven races now 3 billion strong — embark on another audacious journey to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.
Skydance’s David Ellison, a big Stephenson fan I’m told, is also producing this with Dana Goldberg and Imagine’s Erica Huggins. It’s the latest big swing for his company, which is reshaping after raising $700 million in new financing in March (that included $200 million in equity from a group of investors, and a $500 million line of credit from J.P. Morgan Chase). The new emphasis is away from co-financing and more toward funding projects generated internally — and not just at Paramount. Sony Pictures stepped up to co-finance Skydance’s Mars mission film Life, which Daniel Espinosa will direct with Ryan Reynolds, Jake Gyllenhaal and Rebecca Ferguson. Ellison did the Dean Devlin-directed Geostorm with Warner Bros.
Next up for Skydance is the July 22 release Star Trek Beyond and October 21 release Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, with Paramount. Geostorm will be released January 13, and Life is due on March 24, 2017.
Howard and Grazer’s Imagine just teamed with National Geographic Channel for the channel’s first scripted series Genius. The anthology drama — telling the stories of the world’s most brilliant innovators — is from Imagine TV, Fox 21 TV Studios, OddLot Entertainment and EUE/Sokolow, and Howard is set to direct the first episode on Albert Einstein.
Broyles most recently created the upcoming History series Six.
Neal is repped by Darhansoff & Verrill Agency and ICM Partners, latter of which brokered the deal.