2005 futuristic novel to be developed as live-action feature

John Davis and the founders of Lola Visual Effects are financing, developing and producing a live-action feature based on Scott Westerfeld’s 2005 futuristic novel “Uglies.”

Westerfeld disclosed the “Uglies” project during his panel at Comic-Con on Sunday. The filmmakers have also acquired feature rights to Westerfeld’s “Pretties” and “Specials,” the second and third installments of the “Uglies” trilogy published by Simon Pulse with total sales of more than 3 million copies.

Story’s set in an Orwellian future in which teens undergo surgery on their 16th birthdays to become supermodel “pretty.” It’s centered on Tally Youngblood, an “ugly” teen forced by authorities to forgo her transformation until she infiltrates The Smoke, a community of rebels who choose to retain their appearance and live outside of normal society.

Jacob Forman (“All the Boys Love Mandy Lane”) will pen the screenplay.

Lola, which worked on “Captain America,” “The Social Network” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” was founded by Colin and Greg Strause, Edson Williams, and Thomas Nittmann. Hydraulx, founded by the Strause brothers, worked on the latest “Avatar” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

John Davis previously had set up “Uglies” with Fox in 2006 (Daily Variety, June 26, 2006) through his Davis Entertainment banner.

“‘Uglies’ is a smart, youthful, and edgy trilogy peopled by sophisticated characters who have to navigate through a dangerous but fascinating world,” Davis said. “We are at this time in the development of cinema magic where we have the proper technology to fully realize Scott’s vision for the screen.”

Davis has long-standing first-look deal at Fox. He most recently produced “Mr. Popper’s Penguins” and “Gulliver’s Travels.”

CAA represents Hydraulx and brokered the deal for Westerfeld in conjunction with Jill Grinberg of Grinberg Literary.

Hydraulx is also represented by Sara Bottfeld of Industry Entertainment, who negotiated the deal along with Barry Littman of Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller, L.L.P. on behalf of Lola and Hydraulx.

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