EXCLUSIVE: Sci-fi and fantasy giant Ursula K. Le Guin’s acclaimed novelette Nine Lives is being reworked as a feature by UK producers Gavin Humphries (Pin Cushion) of Quark Films and former Sony Pictures International producer Josephine Rose.
Tom Basden, BAFTA-nominated for Netflix series Fresh Meat and a regular actor and writer on ITV2 comedy Plebs (recently picked up for remake by Seth Rogen), is co-scripting the adaptation with NFTS alum Siri Rodnes, who will also direct. The team is in discussions with cast.
Set on a moon-base for off-world drilling, the darkly comedic Nine Lives follows two jaded workers whose excitement at the prospect of incoming human company is dashed when they are instead sent ten clones. The story’s themes of cloning, individualism and the importance of social connection hit home when the story was published by Playboy in 1968 and still resonate today.
Rodnes, whose 2016 short Take Your Partner was BAFTA-nominated and played in Berlin, first adapted a work by the late American author Le Guin in film school. Rodnes adapted and directed another one of Le Guin’s short stories. The UK director was recently mentored by Ex Machina and Trainspotting producer Andrew Macdonald on the BFI’s Flare LGBT training programme.
Le Guin was famously reluctant to option her work to filmmakers. The last big-screen adaptation of one of her works was Studio Ghibli’s 2006 pic Tales From The Earthsea. The influential writer, particularly known for her Earthsea series and The Left Hand Of Darkness, passed away earlier this year.
Le Guin wrote over twenty novels in addition to short story collections, essays, non-fiction and picture books. She was awarded the National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American letters, considered one of literature’s most distinguished honours, in 2014. She was also one of the few living authors to be inducted into the Library of America.
Humphries and Rose most recently collaborated on 2017 Venice Film Festival Critics’ Week opener Pin Cushion with Humphries serving as producer and Rose as executive producer. The film also scored three British Independent Film Award nominations.
Rose is producing Nine Lives under her fledgling UK production banner Bandit Country, having recently left Sony Pictures International’s UK fold where she worked as a producer on movies including upcoming Simon Pegg comedy-horror Slaughterhouse Rulez. She was previously Head Of Packaging at UK law firm Wiggin, working on movies such as Dad’s Army and Brotherhood.
Also on her Bandit Country slate are action-sci-fi Apophis from writer-director Simon Hansen, VFX supervisor on movies including Eye In The Sky and Fonzo, and fantasy-horror A Spriggan from writer-director Keir Burrows.