Sony ponies up ‘Gray’ pay

Little green men means big green for Nolan

Sony Pictures will pay “Black Hawk Down” screenwriter Ken Nolan $3 million for his 75-page “script-ment” (less than a script but more than a treatment) of Whitley Strieber’s as-yet-unpublished alien sci-fi novel “The Grays,” marking one of the studio’s largest payments for a treatment.

Story concerns an alien race who essentially function as the “United States of the cosmos” — running things on Earth as well as on other worlds. Operating in secrecy, the aliens are unwilling to reveal themselves for fear of altering mankind’s development.

Producing the pic are Avenue Pictures’ Cary Brokaw and former Sony Pictures chairman John Calley — the duo behind Sony’s recent adaptation of the Patrick Marber play “Closer.” Calley and Brokaw are doing a number of projects together but have never formed an official partnership. For example, they also recently recruited Nolan to adapt Robert Littell’s hefty 900-pager “The Company,” a novel that’s part roman a clef, part family history of the American intelligence community.

Female lead seen

It’s not clear who’ll star in “The Grays,” but insiders say the lead role is intended for a female.

Avenue head of production Aaron Geller will supervise the project’s development for Brokaw’s shingle. At the studio, exec VP Andrea Gianetti and senior VP Sam Dickerman will oversee development.

An ex-advertising exec, Strieber began his career as a novelist with the horror tomes “The Hunger” and “Wolfen” — which were turned into feature films by Orion/Warners and MGM, respectively.

More recently, Strieber co-authored, with Art Bell, a book about doomsday climate change, “The Coming Global Super Storm,” which served as the inspiration for Fox’s “The Day After Tomorrow.” Streiber also authored a novelization of that film.

He first gained national notoriety for his 1987 book “Communion,” about his alleged abduction by aliens.

“The Grays,” unlike “Communion,” is a fictional exploration of the effect aliens have on mankind. It will be published by the Tor/Forge imprint in August of next year.

Nolan’s deal was brokered by CAA.