EXCLUSIVE: Teddy Schwarzman’s Black Bear Pictures has won an auction that puts him back together with Graham Moore and Morten Tyldum, with whom he made the Oscar Best Picture-nominated hit The Imitation Game. Schwarzman has acquired a package for The Last Days Of Night, which Moore (who won an Oscar for adapting The Imitation Game) has adapted in a spec script from the novel he wrote that Random House will published September 20. Directing will be Tyldum, who was nominated for The Imitation Game and who just completed the Jennifer Lawrence-Chris Pratt-starrer Passengers for Sony. Nora Grossman and Ido Ostrowsky of Bristol Automotive will produce, along with Schwarzman.
Like The Imitation Game, this one involves seminal technological geniuses. The publisher describes it as being “about the nature of genius, the cost of ambition, and the battle to electrify America. New York, 1888. The miracle of electric light is in its infancy. Thomas Edison has won the race to the patent office and is suing his only remaining rival, George Westinghouse, for the unheard of sum of one billion dollars. To defend himself, Westinghouse makes a surprising choice in his attorney: He hires an untested twenty-six-year-old fresh out of Columbia Law School named Paul Cravath. The task facing Cravath is beyond daunting. Edison proves to be a formidable, wily, and dangerous opponent. Yet this young, unknown attorney shares with his famous opponent a compulsion to win at all costs. How will he do it? As he takes greater and greater risks, he’ll find that everyone in his path is playing their own game, and no one is quite who they seem.” Woven into the tale are Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford White and other technological titans of the late 19th century.
The intriguing thing here is that it sets up a race with two key components of The Imitation Game who are not part of this. Benedict Cumberbatch is attached to The Weinstein Company’s rival project The Current War, with Cumberbatch to play Edison and possibly Jake Gyllenhaal as Westinghouse in the race to electrify America. Me And Earl And The Dying Girl’s Alfonso Gomez-Rejon is attached to direct.
CAA went out with the script, as it reps Moore, who is repped for publishing by ICM Partners and who is managed by Think Tank Management. WME reps Tyldum with Anonymous Content.