Warner Bros. won a bidding war to pick up The Forever War, an adaptation of the classic sci-fi war comic by Joe Haldeman, to which Channing Tatum is attached to star.
Making the package go supernova was the involvement of Prometheus and Passengers screenwriter Jon Spaihts and producer Roy Lee. Producing with Lee are Tatum and his Free Association execs as well as Film 360.
The package started to heat up last week but went fiery Thursday when Warners, Sony and another studio were all ready to write hefty checks. Warners won the project late afternoon paying low six figures against seven for the movie rights. Spaihts’ deal to write the script topped seven figures.
The 1974 novel is about a young man conscripted into a military task force during a war against an alien species named the Taurans. Through many battles, the man rises up the ranks of the military, but traveling through space has time-warping effects, causing him to age normally while Earth spins centuries.
The planet undergoes many changes, including humanity’s melding into one homogenous race, the eliminating of heterosexuality and the speaking of a new language. At the same time, the man tries to remain connected to his true love, a fellow (and female) soldier who also uses space-time to slow down her aging so she can be with him.
This development is a coup for the project and the filmmakers.
The book has been trying to make it to the screen since it was first published, but few people had the rights to it. Special-effects pioneer Richard Edlund (The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark) picked up the rights in the 1970s and controlled them for more than 20 years.
Ridley Scott acquired the rights in 2008 and had been developing it as a directing vehicle. David Peoples, Matthew Michael Carnahan and Dante Harper worked on drafts of the script.
The new package came together when the rights lapsed recently. Edlund is still involved in a producer capacity.
Spaihts is repped by CAA, Circle of Confusion and Bloom Hergott. Tatum is repped by UTA, Management 360 and Hansen Jacobson.
Updated 6:30 PM April 30 to reflect Warners winning the bidding war.