Def Pics, Polygram feel ‘Kindred’ spirits

Def Pictures and Polygram Filmed Entertainment have acquired Nicholas Brandt and Bridget Blake-Wilson’s adaptation of Octavia E. Butler’s sci-fi novel “Kindred” for mid-six figures. Attached to helm is Brandt, a Grammy-nominated musicvid (Michael Jackson’s “Earth Song”) and commercial director.

The reclusive Butler, who has written more than a dozen science-fiction books, has rarely allowed her novels to be optioned for film.

Time travel

“Kindred” is the story of a contemporary black woman who repeatedly is drawn back to 1830s America by her white, slave-owning ancestor.

When his life is endangered, she chooses to save him, knowing that because of her actions, a free-born black woman eventually will become his slave — and her own great-grandmother.

Talia Shire held an option to “Kindred” for eight years. After it was not renewed in 1996, a number of high-profile filmmakers circled the project. In May, the project went to Brandt. If the film is made, Butler’s eventual payday is said to be in the high six figures.

Gipson delivers

The project was brought into Def by director of development Darrien Michele Gipson. Def Pictures will produce; Blake-Wilson and Brandt’s manager Kimberly Hines will exec produce.

Butler recently won a McArthur Foundation “genius grant,” and picked up Nebula and Hugo awards for “Kindred.”

The book was repped by Merrilee Heifetz at the Writer’s House, and Gary Pearl, now an agent at William Morris.

Brandt and Blake-Wilson were repped in the deal by ICM’s David Unger and Hines.

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