EXCLUSIVE: Jennifer Fox, the producer behind the Oscar-nominated legal thriller, Michael Clayton, has optioned the film rights to fantasy book series, Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin, who agreed to allow Fox to translate her work into a series of films before she passed away in January.

The series, which was first introduced in the 1960s, is comprised of five novels and eight short stories set in a fantasy archipelago of hundreds of islands, imperiled by those who use magic to gain power and upset its delicate balance. Most of its characters are people of color and the emphasis is on understanding nature and human nature, not possessing power over them.

Le Guin has published twenty-one novels and received many honors including the Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, The Library of Congress’s Living Legend Award and the National Book Foundation Medal.

Theo Downes-Le Guin, son of the author, will executive produce the project.

Fox’s producing credits Nightcrawler with Jake Gyllenhaal, as well as the Denzel Washington-starrer, Roman J. Israel, Esq, and The Bourne Legacy.

The rights deal was brokered by Alan Wertheimer for Fox and Holly Frederick from Curtis Brown Ltd for Le Guin.