Scribe Maguire set to travel through Crichton’s ‘Timeline’

Donner helming pic for Par

A deal is imminent for scribe Jeff Maguire to adapt Michael Crichton’s novel “Timeline” for Paramount Pictures.

The scribe, best known for penning the 1993 Clint Eastwood suspenser “In the Line of Fire,” will soon set about adapting “Timeline,” published late last month by Alfred Knopf.

Storyline concerns three students working on an archaeological dig. The trio must travel back in time to 14th century France to rescue their eclectic professor, an obsessive academician who has become trapped after venturing into his favorite era to study it first-hand.

Pic is being produced by its helmer, Richard Donner, along with Lauren Shuler Donner and James Van Wyck.

In edging out Disney and Warner Bros., Par execs agreed to pay 15% of the first-dollar gross of the picture to Crichton, his representative Artists Management Group and attached producer-director Richard Donner until they receive a $3 million producing fee. After that milestone, the payoff becomes tied to the performance of the pic at the B.O. on a sliding scale.

Less clear is how much of Donner’s directing tab will be covered by the gross participation deal, or whether it will be covered at all. Donner (“Lethal Weapon” pics, “Conspiracy Theory”) has seen his fee go as high as $10 million against 10% of the gross of previous pics.

Maguire is repped by United Talent Agency, Donner by the William Morris Agency and Artist Management Group. Crichton is managed by AMG.

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