Touchstone Pix sets Lemke to try ‘Tripods’

Sci-fi books feature 'Star Wars'-like storyline

Walt Disney’s Touchstone Pictures has hired Darren Lemke to adapt John Christopher’s “The Tripods Trilogy.” Disney picked up the feature rights to John Christopher’s sci-fi book series in 1997 for producer Don Murphy with an eye toward the project’s franchise possibilities.

The three books included in the trilogy — “The White Mountains,” “The City of Gold and Lead” and “The Pool of Fire” — feature a “Star Wars”-like storyline set in the 21st century and have been favorites among school kids since “The White Mountains” was first published in 1967.

In the books, Tripods have conquered Earth and enslaved the human race by implanting a mind-controlling device in the heads of everyone over 15. The books tell the story of a boy and two of his friends who race to overthrow the Tripods before they must undergo the capping ritual. “The Tripods Trilogy” was previously adapted by the BBC as a TV series, beginning in 1984.

Touchstone co-presidents Nina Jacobsen and Todd Garner will oversee the pic with senior veep of production Mark Vahradian. Murphy’s Angry Films will produce.

Lemke, repped by UTA, gained a foothold in Hollywood three years ago after his script “Cherry Poppers” fell into the hands of Murphy and then-partner Jane Hamsher. Since then, Lemke has sold two pitches to Tony Scott and was hired to write the sequel to the hit 1996 pic “Twister.”

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