Hales' script has 'little connection' to comicbook

Columbia Pictures is aiming for yet another Marvel Entertainment franchise, hiring “Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones” scribe Jonathan Hales to adapt the long-dormant comicbook “The Gargoyle” in a deal described as middle-six figures against low-seven figures.

Hales, who also penned “The Scorpion King” for Universal Pictures, said his script has “actually very little connection” with the Marvel comicbook’s storyline. The original was penned by J.M. DeMatteis and drawn by Mark Badger, and was published in a limited series from June through September 1985. It followed a human soul trapped within a Gargoyle’s form.

Reached at his home in London, Hales described his script as “a mother/son tale” about a young, imaginative boy who spends much of his free time talking to a gargoyle statue on top of his apartment building. This gargoyle comes to life when a 100-year-old curse is lifted, and it begins a hunt for the talisman that will return it to permanent flesh-and-blood form.

Marvel CEO Avi Arad is in final negotiations to produce the pic at Sony’s Columbia Pictures, with plans being hatched to bring another, as-yet-undisclosed Sony-based producer aboard.

Pic is being supervised by co-prexy of production Matt Tolmach for Columbia.

Hales, repped by the William Morris Agency, is also developing his original thriller “Now You Don’t” for helmer Bille August (the upcoming “Without Apparent Motive” and 1997′s “Smilla’s Sense of Snow”) for producer Mads Egmont Christensen. That pic is seeking U.S. distribution.

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