Company nabs film rights to sci-fi novel

Mandalay Pictures wants to build a movie around “Machine Man,” a novel whose pages are being posted online each day by author Max Barry.

The shingle has picked up film rights to the thriller that Vantage Books plans to publish in 2011. Story concerns a tech engineer who’s tired of going through life average and unnoticed, so he replaces parts of his body with titanium upgrades of his own design. He then discovers that he isn’t the only one with plans for his new body.

As Barry writes the book, he’s revealing one page of the tale each day as part of an interactive literary experiment in which suggestions from readers are integrated into the plot as the story unfolds.

Mandalay’s Peter Guber and Cathy Schulman will produce the project. The company is prepping a Frank Sinatra biopic with Martin Scorsese at Universal and “When Dads Were Men” at CBS. Barry will serve as an executive producer on the project.

Schulman, who will develop the project before shopping it to studios, called Barry “one of the freshest voices in fiction today. Max has written a novel that’s like candy for Web-geek personalities and thriller lovers alike.”

Barry’s previous book, “Company,” was optioned by Universal, with Shady Acres attached to produce, while “Jennifer Government” was picked up by Warner Bros., with George Clooney and Steven Soderbergh shepherding.

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