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Depth options ‘Elric’ books

Pact covers 11 sword-and-sorcery genre novels

Universal Pictures and Chris and Paul Weitz’s production shingle, Depth of Field, have optioned “The Elric Saga,” a multi-part, Tolkein-esque fantasy series written by Michael Moorcock.

Series began with 1972’s “Elric of Melnibone.” The Depth of Field option covers 11 books: the original six installments of the series and five subsequent novels that touch on the saga.

The film adaptation, which will be produced but not written or directed by the Weitz brothers, is conceived as a potential trilogy whose first installment will be culled from the series’ first six volumes. The producers plan to shop the book to writers and directors.

The novels are sensual and atmospheric sword-and-sorcery tales that center on Elric, a brooding albino warrior who presides over an unruly, decadent island nation. The novels follow Elric on a series of adventures, in which he is betrayed by his cousin, sent into exile and attempts to come to terms with his own humanity.

“We have loved this series since we were kids and can appreciate it even more as adults. It’s a sophisticated, literate, philosophically dense fantasy — a sort of ‘Matrix’ of the sword-and-sorcery genre,” Chris Weitz said.

Moorcock, repped by the Firm and agent Howard Morhaim, oversaw the sci-fi magazine New Worlds and helped usher in the “new wave” sci-fi movement of the 1960s and ’70s. He also performed in the British hard rock band Hawkwind.

Moorcock will co-produce the project. It will also be produced by Depth of Field topper Andrew Miano.

U senior VP of production Donna Langley and production prexy Scott Stuber will oversee the project, which will be shepherded at the Weitzes’ shingle by Matt Eddy.

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