Cross Creek, Exclusive, Hammer board steampunk pic

Cherie Priest’s steampunk sci-fi novel “Boneshaker” is coming to the bigscreen with Cross Creek Pictures, Exclusive Media Group and Hammer Films onboard.

The companies said Wednesday that Hammer has acquired the rights to the novel. Project will be co-produced by Hammer and Cross Creek Pictures and co-financed by Exclusive and Cross Creek.

John Hilary Shepherd (“Nurse Jackie”) is writing the screenplay. Hammer head of production Tobin Armbrust is overseeing.

Priest’s novel is set in an alternate version of 1880s Seattle, where the city has been walled in and a toxic gas has turned many of its remaining residents into “Rotters,” more commonly known as zombies. A young widow hunts for her teen son in the Seattle underworld while dealing with airship pirates, a criminal overlord and heavily armed refugees.

The novel, published in 2009 by Tor Books, is the first in a series set in the period, which has Priest has dubbed the Clockwork Century. Second novel “Dreadnought” was published in 2010, and the third, “Ganymede,” was recently released.

Tor Books is releasing the fourth in the series, “Inexplicables,” in 2012, and last week announced a deal with Priest for her to write a fifth. That book will be called “Fiddlehead.”

“It’s like Jules Verne meets ‘Resident Evil,’ and we’re thrilled to have such a fun, commercial potential franchise in Boneshaker,” said Cross Creek’s Brian Oliver.

Cross Creek and Exclusive have teamed on “The Ides of March,” the upcoming “The Woman in Black” and Ron Howard’s Formula One film “Rush,” with production partners Imagine, Revolution Films and Working Title.

Priest was represented in the deal by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency, and Shepherd was repped by attorney Joan Vento-Hall.

Exclusive Media Group announced during the American Film Market that it had sold “Rush” to distributors for 30 markets; Universal’s handling the U.S. release.

Exclusive came on during the Toronto Film Festival to co-finance “Rush” with Cross Creek. Story focuses on the rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) and their Formula One racing teams, McLaren and Ferrari, as both were pushed to the breaking point of their physical and psychological endurance.

Shooting will start in February in and around Formula One tracks in Silverstone, England, and Nurburgring, Germany.

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