Fox, Lightstorm toss ‘Ramses’ to Essex

Scribe to pen Rice's tale of the pharoah's awakening

James Cameron’s Lightstorm Entertainment and 20th Century Fox have enlisted tyro scribe Karen Essex to adapt Anne Rice’s novel “The Mummy or Ramses the Damned.”

Story centers on Egyptian pharaoh Ramses the Great, who, after sleeping for 2,000 years, is awakened by an archeologist, who is then charged with keeping Ramses — and his secret to eternal life — safe.

Essex, repped by Zide/Perry, wrote the novel “Kleopatra,” a two-volume feminist retelling of the life of Cleopatra, that will be published by Warner Bros. this August and in August 2002, respectively.

Development veep Stacy Maes is overseeing the project for Lightstorm, a partnership among Cameron, Jon Landau and Rae Sanchini. Emma Watts, production veep at Fox, is shepherding the project for the studio.

“The public has a fascination with Egyptology, and Karen has brought in a dynamic way to make the story contemporary with characters steeped in a historical past,” Landau told Daily Variety.

Production on the project is tentatively planned for 2002.