Netflix Closing Deal For Sci-Fi Great Paolo Bacigalupi’s Short Story ‘Mika Model’ For Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps

By Ali Jaafar, Ross A. Lincoln

Copyright Lisa Larson-Walker / Arizona State University, New America, Slate

EXCLUSIVE: Netflix is moving to acquire the rights to sci-fi great Paolo Bacigalupi’s short story Mika Model for Shawn Levy’s Laps 21 Entertainment to produce. The SVOD giant is in talks with David Weil to adapt. The deal would see Netflix and 21 Laps collaborating again following their experience on the Winona Ryder-starring series Stranger Things, which follows how when a young boy disappears, his mother must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.

Weil previously secured a spec script deal with Warner Bros, which pre-emptively acquired an untitled “script-ment” envisaged as a blueprint for a multi-part movie franchise featuring interconnected stories contained in The Arabian Nights for 3 Arts to produce. Weil also sold his spec script to Moonfall to indie film financier-producer Audax. That story centers on an FBI agent who travels to a moon colony to investigate its very first death.

Mika Model only recently was published in Slate. The short story, described in the mold of intelligent dystopia such as Ex Machina, was commissioned and edited jointly by Future Tense — a collaboration of Arizona State University, New America and Slate — and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination. It is the first in Future Tense Fiction, a series of short stories from Future Tense and CSI about how technology and science will change our lives. Mika Model begins with a young woman — or robot — walking into a police station.

Levy’s 21 Laps is in the midst of a prolific year. In addition to Stranger Things, the banner also has the Denis Villenueve-directed Story of Your Life, wrapped with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner for Paramount; the Ice Cube-Charlie Day starrer Fist Fight, wrapped at New Line; the John Hamburg-directed Fox comedy Why Him? in the works with Bryan Cranston and James Franco; and the Anna Kendrick starrer Table 19, wrapped at Searchlight.

Bacigalupi is a huge name in sci-fi circles. He has won the Hugo, Nebula, Compton Crook, Theodore Sturgeon and Michael L. Printz awards, and was nominated for the National Book Award. His credits also include The Wind-Up Girl. 

Weil is repped by CAA. Levy is repped by WME. Bacigalupi is repped by CAA and Russ Galen.

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