Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired the rights to sci-fi book “The Sparrow” for Brad Pitt’s Plan B and Industry Entertainment to produce. Pitt has a longtime interest in the project, a potential starring vehicle for him.
Scribe Michael Seitzman (“North Country”) is adapting Mary Doria Russell’s debut novel of the same name. Project was originally set up at Universal, but Warners picked up the rights to the book after U let them lapse.
Story revolves around a Jesuit priest who accompanies a crew of space travelers to a distant planet after Earth receives its first communication from an alien culture. The clergyman and crew befriend one of the planet’s two races, unwittingly provoking a bloody war and shaking the foundations of the priest’s faith.
Producers are Pitt, Industry Entertainment’s Nick Wechsler and Brillstein-Grey’s Cynthia Pett-Dante, Pitt’s manager, who were all attached when the project was at Universal.
Warners exec VP of production Courtenay Valenti will oversee for the studio.
Warner and producers are waiting to see a draft of Seitzman’s adaptation before moving ahead.
Pitt’s schedule also remains in flux. Upcoming projects include “Benjamin Button” for Warner and Paramount and Warner’s “Ocean’s Thirteen” from producer Jerry Weintraub, although the thesp has not committed to the latter.
Plan B, which Pitt founded with former wife Jennifer Aniston, had a first-look deal with Warner until last year, when Pitt inked a pact with Paramount topper and longtime associate Brad Grey. Plan B produced upcoming pics “The Departed,” directed by Martin Scorsese for WB, and Par’s “Babel,” which stars Pitt.
Seitzman’s previous credits include teen romance “Here on Earth,” starring Josh Hartnett. He’s set to write and direct “Storming the Court” for Warner Bros. and Industry Entertainment. He’s also adapting Robert Ludlum’s “The Chancellor Manuscript” for the bigscreen.
Industry Entertainment (“North Country”) also is set to produce “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “Ronin” for Warner.