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De Bont plans FX sci-fi mini

Helmer impressed with 'daredevil explorers' in 'Eater'

Film director Jan De Bont’s Blue Tulip Prods. and Fox TV Studios are close to sealing a deal to produce cable net FX’s first-ever miniseries.

“Eater” follows the saga of an astrophysicist and his wife, who discover a black hole hurtling toward Earth.

De Bont and Blue Tulip topper Jessika Borsiczky will exec produce the four-hour project. Vince Gerardis and Ralph Vicinanza of sci-fi management/production company Created By will also serve as exec producers.

FX has been in the TV movie business since last year, when inaugural pic “Deliberate Intent” scored big.

“Eater” is based on the novel by bestselling author Gregory Benford, a physicist and astronomer by day. De Bont said he was impressed by the characterization of scientists in “Eater” as “modern-day heroes and daredevil explorers.”

“What has always drawn me to Gregory Benford, apart from his amazing achievements in the field of experimental and theoretical physics, astronomy and future space travel, is his ability to give us a unique insight into what motivates and drives the mind of today’s scientist,” De Bont said.

Borsiczky said she was attracted to how Benford turned scientific subjects into emotional storylines.

“This brings an audience into the world of outer space in a way that’s never been done before,” she said. “It doesn’t feel like a caricature of scientists or a B-movie journey. The poignancy of this story is unique.”

Besides “Eater,” Blue Tulip also has a series project in the works at Viacom Prods. based on Benford’s six-book “The Galactic Center Series” anthology. “Galactic Center” is described as a future-set “Odyssey.” Blue Tulip recently signed a one-year development deal at Viacom.

Blue Tulip previously had the feature “Cosm” in development at 20th Century Fox.

“I am thrilled to have my newest book in Jan’s hands,” Benford said. “He respects getting scientific facts and ideas right, aware that science fact can also be much stranger than science fiction.”

Borsiczky said Blue Tulip continues to focus on developing TV projects with a sci-fi and action bent.

“Sci-fi is a really big arena for us,” she said. “One of the challenges for us is to make movies that are fairly sophisticated on a visual level be very visually exciting on TV.”

Blue Tulip, which (along with De Bont and Created By) is repped by Endeavor, will start pitching its handful of projects at the networks after Labor Day, Borsiczky said.

“We’re about ready to get out of the gate,” she said.

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