Touchstone taps ‘Tripod’ rights

Pays high six figures for sci-fi series

Touchstone Pictures has picked up feature rights to John Christopher’s sci-fi book series “The Tripods Trilogy” for producers Jane Hamsher and Don Murphy, the studio confirmed Friday.

The deal is worth high six figures for the books and producers’ fees.

The three books included in the trilogy — “The White Mountains,” “The City of Gold and Lead” and “The Pool of Fire” — have been favorites among school-age kids since “The White Mountains” was first was published in 1967.

The books, strong on action and suspense, with a “Star Wars”-like storyline, take place in the 21st century, many years after alien invaders, Tripods, have conquered Earth and have enslaved the human race through “capping,” implanting a mind-controlling device in the heads of everyone more than 15 years old. The books tell the story of a boy and two of his friends who race to overthrow the Tripods before they must undergo the capping ritual.

“The Tripods Trilogy” was written pseudonymously by Sam Youd, a British author who has written more than 50 books (mostly under the Christopher pen name), one of which was made by MGM into the 1970 film “No Blade of Grass.” “The Tripods Trilogy” was adapted by the BBC as a TV series, beginning in 1984.

Donald DeLine, prexy of Touchstone, and VP of production Mark Vahradian will oversee the pic.

Hamsher and Murphy have tried to get the rights to the series for several years, but until recently the rights had been wrapped up in the U.K. or with U.S. producers.

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