D'Works goes deep for sci-fi


Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water. Writer-director Joby Harold is negotiating to write the adaptation of the comic book "Atlantis Rising" for DreamWorks. Len Wiseman is attached to direct the apocalyptic science fiction project.

Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci are producing along with Platinum Studios chairman and CEO Scott Mitchell Rosenberg, who created the original "Atlantis Rising" five-part series. Randy Greenberg is exec producing.

"As a writer, Joby has an amazingly strong understanding of how to take genre seriously, which is prerequisite No. 1 for us when it comes to these kinds of movies," said Kurtzman, who with Orci produced "Eagle Eye" and scripted "Transformers" and the forthcoming "Star Trek."

In "Atlantis," an underworld civilization is discovered after seismic rumbles announce its presence. Hostilities with Earth's land-dwellers ensue.

"In all the classic versions of this kind of movie, the threat is always from the stars," Orci said. "And the idea that it's somehow our cousins who went off in a different path of evolution who have been here, literally, underneath our oceans. … That's fascinating, the idea of secrets right under your nose."

The newly independent DreamWorks hopes to have "Atlantis" — which is envisioned as a big-budget, effects-driven sci-fi war movie in the vein of the James Cameron-directed "Aliens" and "The Abyss" — in theaters as a summer 2011 tentpole. Paramount will have an option to co-finance and co- distribute the film should it go into production as part of the separation agreement the studio signed with DreamWorks.

Platinum also has "Cowboys & Aliens" — another potential partnership with Paramount — in development with Kurtzman and Orci at DreamWorks and Imagine Entertainment.

The CAA-repped Harold is adapting the Frank Miller comic "Ronin" for Warner Bros. (partialdiff)