Sony cravin’ ‘Raven’

Studio pegs Marvel comic for tentpole treatment

Sony Pictures is in negotiations with Marvel Entertainment to turn one of Marvel’s lesser-known comicbook characters, “Killraven,” into a sci-fi tentpole pic.

Set in a future where mankind has been enslaved by an alien race, storyline follows a man who, though born in captivity, rises through gladiatorial battles to become the leader of a group of revolutionaries. Called the Freemen, his warrior-slaves unite in an attempt to drive the invaders off the Earth.

Sony already is in discussions with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan (“The Kentucky Cycle”) to adapt the 1970s comicbook series. If a deal could be reached with Schenkkan, it would mark the second time in as many years that a Pulitzer winner was pressed into service to adapt a Marvel title: Sony enlisted Michael Chabon, a Pulitzer winner for his novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay,” to help pen the “Spider-Man 2” script.

The move into less well-known comicbook titles is well under way at Marvel, which also has set up “Ghost Rider” with Nicolas Cage toplining at Sony. “Daredevil” helmer Mark Steven Johnson directs.

Marvel’s topper Avi Arad would produce the film, along with Angryfilms’ Don Murphy, who’s also producing Marvel icon “Iron Man” at New Line Cinema. Kevin Feige of Marvel would handle exec producing chores on “Killraven.”

The studio declined to comment on the talks, as did Schenkkan’s reps at William Morris, but insiders say the rights deal likely will be concluded as early as midweek.

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