O'Keefe, Staples to adapt Alaskan tale

Walden Media is reteaming with “Chronicles of Narnia” producer Mark Johnson to tell the true story of a team of men and sled dogs that braved temperatures of 60 below to save an Alaskan town from a deadly epidemic in 1925.

Walden acquired rights to “The Cruelest Miles: The Heroic Story of Dogs and Men in a Race Against an Epidemic,” a book by Gay and Laney Salisbury. Several studios bid on the material.

Sean O’Keefe and Will Staples will pen the script.

Tome tells the story of how a team of 20 men and more than 200 sled dogs undertook a 674-mile race against time to deliver a vaccine to combat an incipient epidemic of diphtheria afflicting a Gold Rush town deep in Alaska.

Johnson will produce through his Gran Via banner. Gran Via’s Tom Williams will also be involved as a producer.

O’Keefe and Staples most recently completed “The Murder of King Tut” for Sony Pictures and director Roland Emmerich and just sold an untitled action thriller to Universal.

Walden and Johnson are also prepping a third “Narnia” installment, “Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” for a January start.

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