Mostow to direct robot tale

Disney has acquired rights to the graphic novel “The Surrogates” and will develop it into a sci-fi thriller that Jonathan Mostow will direct.

Michael Ferris and John Brancato will write. The trio last teamed on “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines.”

Published by Top Shelf Comix, graphic novel “The Surrogate,” written by Robert Venditti and illustrated by Brett Weldele, is set in a futuristic world where humans live in isolation. They interact vicariously, through surrogate robots.

Mandeville’s David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman will produce, along with Max Handelman and Elizabeth Banks.

“This is a Philip K. Dick-like futuristic universe, but people who live a second life already on the Internet can relate to some of the themes here,” said Brancato, who with Ferris is adapting the Robert Ludlum novel “Sigma Protocol” for Strike Entertainment.

Subject matter is edgy for Disney, and Oren Aviv is eyeing Touchstone as a home for it.

“This is a grounded sci-fi premise, but there are big effects, and it’s clear from ‘300’ that people want to see different kinds of things, and this falls into that category,” Hoberman said.

Project was hatched by husband-wife team of Handelman and Banks; the latter is an actress most recently seen in “Invincible” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” They found “Surrogates” and enlisted Lieberman, with whom they attended college.

Mostow will develop the project while he continues to write “Sub-Mariner,” an adaptation of the Marvel Comics character for Universal.

WMA repped the writers.

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