Gamemaker shopping script to develop racing title into feature

Electronic Arts is eager to capitalize on studios seeking their own “The Fast and the Furious”-type franchise, with the videogame publisher tapping sibling scribes George and John Gatins (“Real Steel”) to adapt “Need for Speed” into a feature.

John Gatins and EA will produce the project. United Talent Agency, which reps EA, assembled the package whose script is being shopped around Hollywood, with Warner Bros., Sony and Paramount said to be interested in snatching film rights to the racing property, looking to offer low seven figures.

Paramount is said to be a frontrunner, but other bids are still being considered. Universal is the only major not vying for the project, given that it already has “Fast and the Furious,” whose sixth installment starts lensing later this year. Plot details are being kept under wraps.

Electronic Arts released “Need for Speed: The Run” as the 18th game in the franchise last November. Game was an attempt to freshen up the series by developing a plot for the first time and hiring actors Sean Faris (“Never Back Down”) and Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”) to play lead roles in a grueling race from San Francisco to New York City.

Before “The Run,” the “Need for Speed” games generated more than $100 million for EA since the first bowed in 1994. Company plans to release a new “Need for Speed” each fall, the same way Activision launches a new installment of its blockbuster “Call of Duty” franchise each year.

UTA has repped the gamemaker since 2008, when it started setting up adaptations of its more high-profile titles around town, including “Mass Effect,” “Spore,” “The Sims,” “Army of Two,” “Dante’s Inferno” and “Dead Space,” as films or TV shows. UTA also reps the Gatins.

(Justin Kroll contributed to this story.)

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