Author's 'Starship Troopers' was filmed in '97

HOLLYWOOD — Producer David Heyman and Mike Medavoy’s Phoenix Pictures have teamed to option the feature rights to Robert Heinlein’s sci-fi novel “The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress.”

Published in 1966, book centers on an unassuming computer repairman and moon resident who gets caught up in a rebellion against the authority that controls it from Earth. He fights with the aid of a young female agitator, an elderly academic and a supercomputer that recently attained consciousness.

DreamWorks previously optioned the novel.

Bigscreen presence

The most recent feature adaptation of a Heinlein book was 1997’s “Starship Troopers,” directed by Paul Verhoeven.

Heyman’s Heyday Films also holds the option to the late author’s “Have Spacesuit Will Travel.”

Phoenix VP of production Brad Fischer brought “Mistress” to the company and will oversee with Heyday exec Marc Rosen. Phoenix exec veep Andrew Kramer negotiated the rights for Phoenix from the Heinlein estate.

“There’s not a lot of sci-fi shoot-‘em-ups (in ‘Mistress’),” Medavoy told Daily Variety. “We both wanted to do this less expensively. It’s first a human story and we want to give it human scale.”

Crucial approval

Heyman said Heinlein’s widow, Virginia, gave her blessing to their acquisition of the project shortly before her death Jan. 26. “She wanted to know who was going to do it. She looked at our bios and decided that it seemed like we wouldn’t screw it up.”

Medavoy is preparing for the release of two films, “Basic” March 28 and “Holes” April 18.

Heyman is in production on “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” for Warner Bros. Pictures.

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