Trio use own money to buy screen rights to novel

Producers Nick Wechsler, Steve and Paula Mae Schwartz have used their own money to acquire screen rights to “The Host,” the first adult novel written by Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” series.

Andrew Niccol will write the script and direct.

Meyer’s novel is a love story set in the near future on Earth, which has been assimilated by an alien species of benevolent parasites that call themselves “Souls.” One such soul, the Wanderer, is fused with a dying human named Melanie Stryder, in an attempt to locate the last pocket of surviving humans on Earth.

Wechsler and the Schwartzes are separately teamed on “The Road,” the John Hillcoat-directed adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel that will be released Nov. 25 by the Weinstein Co. They are also producing the Paul Schrader-scripted “The Dying of the Light” and an adaptation of Pete Takada book “An Eye at the Top of the World,” which Ryne Douglas Pearson is adapting.

In addition to writing four volumes of the “Twilight” series, Meyer has been heavily involved in the screen transfers, and she spurned several overtures for “The Host.” The producers continued lobbying the author and her UTA reps with a significant offer, a strong vision for the project and a collaborative spirit. Meyer eventually said yes.

In fact, Niccol first came under consideration after Wechsler and the Schwartzes asked Meyer what her favorite science fiction films are. “Gattaca” and “The Truman Show” were in her top five; Niccol wrote and directed “Gattaca” and scripted the Peter Weir-directed “The Truman Show.”

Niccol most recently wrote and directed Orlando Bloom starrer “The Cross.”

“We wanted Stephenie to be involved in the adaptation and have her endorse and be part of the creative decisions,” Wechsler said. “Twilight” has “proven she knows more about what works than most.”

Summit releases the second adaptation of Meyers’ vampire series, “The Twilight Saga: New Moon,” on Nov. 20.

Niccol is repped by CAA.

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