Robert Zemeckis Plotting Spooky 'Charles Fort' at Universal (Exclusive)

FILM: Robert Zemeckis
<p> Zemeckis has closed a deal to move his production company, Imagemovers, to Universal in a two-year first-look pact.</p>   |   Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
Evan Spiliotopoulos is writing the adaptation of the Dark Horse comic.

Universal Pictures is plotting a spooky feature called Charles Fort with producer Robert Zemeckis and screenwriter Evan Spiliotopoulos. Fort, which is being described by some who know the material as a "period Ghostbusters," is the first project set up under Zemeckis and his Imagemovers' newly minted first-look deal with the studio.

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Charles Fort was an early-twentieth-century American researcher and writer whose focus was "anomalous phenomena" and the unexplained. Books Fort wrote such as The Book of the Damned (1919) and New Lands (1923) were some of the first to explore everything from levitation and teleportation to alien abduction and other paranormal pursuits. Fort was essentially a curious skeptic who enjoyed collecting data to support explanations for things that he felt were no less possible than the scientifically accepted ones.

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Dark Horse Comics published a four-issue series in 2002 titled Fort: Prophet of the Unexplained, which turned Fort into an adventurous investigator tangling with aliens and murderers in turn-of-the-nineteenth-century New York City. 

In addition to Zemeckis, Dark Horse's Mike Richardson is producing the film, as are Imagemovers partners Jack Rapke and Steve Starkey. Dark Horse's Keith Goldberg will be an executive producer. Scott Bernstein is overseeing for the studio.

Repped by UTA and manager D.J. Talbot, Spiliotopoulos worked on the script for the Universal film Snow White and the Huntsman, which is filming now for a June release.

The CAA-repped Zemeckis is prepping to direct the drama Flight for Paramount this fall. As a producer, he most recently produced Real Steel, Mars Needs Moms and A Christmas Carol, which he also wrote and directed.

Dark Horse Entertainment also has an adaptation of its comic R.I.P.D. in production at Universal for a summer 2013 release. The writer of the source material, Peter M. Lenkov, created the Fort comics as well. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) and 30 Days of Night (2007) were also based on Dark Horse comics.