After 23 years, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” author Richard Bach has finally agreed to sell the film rights to “Illusions: the Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah,” a bestseller when published in 1977.
Stephen Simon and Barnet Bain, who via their Metafilmics shingle and in association with Interscope produced the Robin Williams starrer “What Dreams May Come,” will produce “Illusions.” Pic will be financed independently.
Simon and Bain formed a joint venture with Bach, who didn’t ask for upfront money.
“Every idea ignites the people and the resources it needs to light itself,” said Bach, about his long-awaited decision to sell the film rights. “When the time was right for ‘Illusions’ to be expressed in film, I knew it would draw whomever it needed from the industry to make it happen. All at once, with Stephen and Barnet, the time is now.”
“This book has been a monumental success,” said Simon. “For the past 23 years Bach had an awful lot of people pursue the rights to this book. We have been after him for years and years. We asked him to see ‘What Dreams May Come.’ He saw it and loved it and said, ‘I get it guys, let’s talk.'”
“Illusions” is a light-hearted, inspirational account of an encounter with a modern-day messiah. Bach espouses the views that people don’t need airplanes to soar and that messiahs can be found everywhere. The book has sold 15 million copies in 35 languages.
Of Bach’s 11 novels, only “Seagull” was made into a feature film.
Simon and Bain founded Metafilmics in 1995 to make productions for all medium that contain a strong spiritual content.
“What Dreams May Come” won the 1999 Academy Award for best visual effects. Pic grossed more than $100 million worldwide.
Simon’s other credits include “Somewhere in Time,” one of Universal’s highest grossing vid titles, “All the Right the Moves” and “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” He ran Ray Stark’s company 1977-79.
Bain’s credits include writing the screenplay for Warner Bros.’ “Jesus,” and United Artists’ “Between Lives.” He also produced HBO’s “Conspiracy of Fear” and six science-fiction pics for the Sci Fi Channel.