MGM has brought Phil Lord and Chris Miller on board to direct and produce the film adaptation of “The Martian” author Andy Weir’s next novel, which has Ryan Gosling lined up to star.
Amy Pascal has also signed on as a producer, joining Gosling and Ken Kao as well as Weir. Lord, Miller and Pascal have a long-running relationship — even sharing office space at one point — and most recently won an Oscar together as producers on “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” Sources said that relationship helped in getting the manuscript in their hands. Aditya Sood, the president of film of the filmmaking duo’s Lord Miller production banner, will also produce. Sood also previously produced “The Martian.”
Sources say that before Gosling had even finished reading the manuscript, he was lobbying to execs that it seemed like the perfect project for Lord and Miller. The one hurdle that needed to be overcome was making sure Universal, which just signed the duo to a first-look deal, was OK with Lord and Miller making this their next project. MGM chief Michael De Luca and Universal chairman Donna Langley have a long-standing relationship, and following discussions between the two studios, Uni gave its blessing for the project to move forward.
“All of us at MGM are incredibly excited by this literal dream team coming together around Andy’s astounding novel. With their masterful ability to balance drama, action, and humor, Phil and Chris are the perfect filmmakers to take on this unique material and we are thrilled to have them partner with Ryan, Ken, Andy, Amy and Aditya to bring this movie to life for big screens everywhere,” said De Luca and Pamela Abdy, MGM film group president.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be working with this dream team of filmmakers. Mike, Chris, Phil, Ryan, Andy and Aditya are all the best of the best in their fields. I can’t wait to get going on this amazing project with them,” said Pascal.
Weir’s upcoming book is currently untitled, being referred to as “Project Hail Mary,” and is described as a solitary tale of an astronaut on a space ship who is tasked with saving the planet. It will be published in the spring of 2021 by Random House.
The original rights to Weir’s book sold for seven figures, one of the first major sales amid the recent shutdown of the industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and MGM and De Luca have continued to be aggressive. Along with this project, MGM has landed the rights to the untitled Thai cave rescue pic that Ron Howard is directing; the Ridley Scott film “Gucci” starring Lady Gaga; and, most recently, George Miller’s “Three Thousand Years of Longing” starring Idris Elba and Tilda Swinton.
It’s been a landmark few years for Lord and Miller, who followed up their “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” Oscar win with a rich first-look production deal at Universal, where they will develop features in both comedy and drama with the ambition of setting up reboot material for future generations. Additionally, Lord Miller expanded its television arm by signing an expansive five-year overall deal with Sony Pictures Television, where the pair will develop their own projects for network, cable and streaming platforms, champion new voices and be involved with developing a suite of series based on Sony’s collection of Marvel characters. Lord and Miller are behind the Fox animated series “Bless the Harts,” which is getting ready to debut its second season.
Most recently, Pascal Pictures produced Greta Gerwig’s best picture Oscar nominee “Little Women,” starring Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep. Previous titles include Steven Spielberg’s Golden Globe- and Academy Award-nominated “The Post,” starring Streep and Tom Hanks; “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” starring Tom Holland and Michael Keaton; and the Spider-Man spinoff “Venom,” starring Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams.
CAA represents Weir and Gosling. Lord Miller is represented by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham LLP. Weir is represented by Launchbooks Literary Agency.