‘Pearl’ jams in new version at H’wood Pix

Hollywood Pictures has scooped up Tom Steinbeck’s script “The Pearl,” which is based on the earlier script and novel written by his father, Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck.

While financial details of the deal — hammered out by Tom Steinbeck’s agents , Maryann Kelly and Chris Barrett of Metropolitan Talent Agency — could not be confirmed, sources indicate the option price was $ 100,000 against $ 600,000 if the film gets made.

The story, about a poor fisherman whose life changes when he finds a pearl of great value, will be produced by Steinbeck and Alfredo Zacharias. Hollywood Pictures VP Chip Diggins is supervising the project.

While the project had been submitted to a number of studios, sources said that Hollywood Pictures president Ricardo Mestres was anxious to make a deal for the project.

Sources say the studio is fast-tracking “The Pearl” and wants to attach a director as soon as possible.

“Pearl” was filmed before, in Mexico in 1948, and was one of the first Mexican films to receive international distribution.

While the original film’s screenplay was written by John Steinbeck before he penned the novel, Tom Steinbeck said he based his script entirely on the novel.

Neither Hollywood Pictures executives nor Steinbeck’s agents could be reached for comment.

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