Drama to be scripted by 'Sum' adapter

In a seven-figure deal, Universal Pictures has bought a survival-themed drama to be scripted by Paul Attanasio and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Section Eight, the shingle run by Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney.

While Attanasio has twice been nominated for an Oscar (for “Donnie Brasco” and “Quiz Show”), the sale marks the first feature project he has originated in the 16 years since he transitioned from Washington Post movie critic to writing film scripts.

Attanasio recently adapted “The Sum of All Fears” and Joseph Kanon novel “The Good German,” which he completed for Soderbergh and Clooney at Warner Bros.

While working on the latter project, Attanasio suggested the survival film idea to Soderbergh. They enlisted di Bonaventura who, while running production at WB, hired Attanasio to script “The Good German.”

When they pitched the project to U’s Stacey Snider and co-prexys Scott Stuber and Mary Parent, the execsbought it in the room.

“I’d been thinking for a long time about doing an adventure story, in the vein of ‘Deliverance,’ that would explore man against nature, themes of masculinity and ultimately what I believe our country is about,” Attanasio said.

“I’d spent a lot of time with Steven on ‘The Good German,’ which was a tricky adaptation, and the working experience was a good one.”

CAA repped the deal and Section Eight’s Ben Cosgrove will oversee the pic.

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