Bain, Domain plan film on Simmons sci-fi saga

Visual effects facility Digital Domain and Barnet Bain Films (“What Dreams May Come”) have optioned author Dan Simmons’ sci-fi novel “Ilium” and its sequel, “Olympos,” to adapt into a feature film.

Simmons, who will also pen the screenplay, is an award-winning sci-fi writer. His “Hyperion” saga is a multi-volume space opera widely compared to the “Dune” series.

“Ilium,” published in July by the Eos imprint of HarperCollins, is another epic sci-fi tale that spans 5,000 years and sweeps across the entire solar system, including themes and characters from Homer’s “The Iliad” and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”

“Olympos” will be released in 2005, providing “Ilium’s” producers with a potential franchise.

Producer Barnet Bain brought “Ilium” to Digital Domain topper Scott Ross. The two will produce the pic, while Simmons will serve as an executive producer.

Duo next plan to approach directors and create a visual representation of the book to showcase the cinematic elements of the novel as a way to land distribution and attract a cast for the film.

“We’re thrilled about working with Dan and Barnet on this compelling property,” Ross said. “‘Ilium’ affords us a great opportunity to develop this film and find a visionary filmmaker capable of handling this bold landscape.”

“Ilium” joins several other films Digital Domain is developing in-house, shepherded by development exec Kevin Cooper. Facility, currently busy creating effects shots for Fox’s “Day After Tomorrow” and “I, Robot,” has been looking to boost revenues and expand its efforts beyond solely serving as a work-for-hire effects shop. It most recently completed sequences for “Peter Pan,” from Universal, Revolution and Sony.

“Secondhand Lions,” distribbed by New Line last September, was its first production, generating $42 million at the domestic B.O.

Bain produced “What Dreams May Come,” for which Digital Domain created the majority of the visual effects sequences and won an Oscar for its work. His other credits include the television movie “Homeless to Harvard.”

Simmons is repped by Richard Curtis Associates and The Firm. Molly Hansen negotiated the deal on behalf of Digital Domain.

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