You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

U taps scribe for ‘Moby Dick’ rewrite

Hopes to bring down the budget for helmer Bekmambetov

Universal Pictures is looking to stay in business with “Contraband” scribe Aaron Guzikowski, who is in negotiations to rewrite the studio’s long-gestating adaptation of “Moby Dick” with the aim of scaling back the budget for director Timur Bekmambetov (“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”).

Adam Cooper and Bill Collage made a lucrative deal to adapt Herman Melville’s whale tale back in September 2008. Duo’s initial draft reimaged the classic novel by ditching the first-person narration of young seaman Ishmael in order to depict the whale’s decimation of other ships prior to its encounter with Captain Ahab’s vessel. Ahab will also be depicted as more charismatic, rather than just hell-bent on revenge.

Evan Spiliotopoulos (“Wanted 2”) wrote the most recent draft. Guzikowski’s rewrite is expected to incorporate Bekmambetov’s notes.

Bazelevs principal Bekmambetov is producing with Jim Lemley and Bluegrass Films topper Scott Stuber, as well as Cormac and Marianne Wibberley.

Popular on Variety

Guzikowski is best known for writing Alcon Entertainment’s thriller “Prisoners,” which has Hugh Jackman attached to star for director Denis Villeneuve (“Incendies”). He also wrote an untitled sci-fi action pic for Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road banner. A modestly-budgeted remake of Icelandic pic “Reykjavik-Rotterdam,” U’s “Contraband” grossed nearly $100 million worldwide.

Guzikowski is repped by Verve and Madhouse Entertainment.

More Film

  • The Matrix Keanu Reeves Carrie Ann

    'The Flash' and 'The Matrix 4' Get Release Dates from Warner Bros.

    Warner Bros. has dated the fourth “The Matrix” movie and “The Flash” for summer openings in 2021 and 2022, respectively, and pulled “Akira” off the schedule. The studio announced Wednesday that “The Flash” would be released on July 1, 2022, while the untitled “Matrix” would open on May 21, 2021. “The Flash” will star Ezra Miller, [...]

  • Promising Young Woman trailer

    Carey Mulligan Gets Revenge in 'Promising Young Woman' Trailer

    Carey Mulligan is a vengeance-seeking, rape-culture-dismantling badass in the trailer for “Killing Eve” showrunner Emerald Fennell’s new film, “Promising Young Woman.” “Every week, I go to a club. I act like I’m too drunk to stand. And every week, a nice guy comes over to see if I’m okay,” Mulligan says coldly over a violinist’s [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Stephen King's 'The Dark Half' Movie Adaptation in the Works

    Stephen King’s horror novel “The Dark Half” is getting the movie treatment at MGM with “Her Smell” director Alex Ross Perry on board to helm. King wrote the book in 1989 about a novelist whose pseudonym comes to life as a murderous twin after his own pen name, Richard Bachman, was revealed. MGM first adapted [...]

  • Jumanji The Next Level

    Can 'Jumanji' Sequel Achieve Next-Level Box Office Success?

    “Jumanji: The Next Level” will seamlessly swing atop box office charts when it debuts in theaters on Friday. But the sequel will need to become another word-of-mouth hit for Sony if it hopes to entice moviegoers once “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” launches the following weekend. If history repeats itself, “Jumanji” and “Star Wars” [...]

  • The Great War

    'The Great War': Film Review

    Coming to theaters across the nation soon, there is a powerful World War I picture, shot with the respectable ambition of simulating a single unbroken take. The bad news is, Steven Luke’s cliché-ladling combat picture is not that refined movie (called “1917”). What we have instead is “The Great War,” a start-to-finish inept battleground film [...]

  • Saoirse Ronan and Timothée Chalamet in

    Can 'Little Women' Recover for Oscars After SAG Nominations Shutout?

    Where in the world was “Little Women”? That was the big question this morning when the 2020 SAG Award nominations were announced. Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of the classic novel was completely shut out by Wednesday’s nominations. It comes on the heels of “Little Women” snagging just two Golden Globe noms for Saoirse Ronan for lead [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content