'Resident Evil' duo picks up 'Warded'

Paul W. S. Anderson to direct fantasy novel adaptation

Filmmaker Paul W. S. Anderson and longtime producing partner Jeremy Bolt, the duo behind the moneymaking "Resident Evil" franchise, have picked up film rights to Peter V. Brett's debut fantasy novel "The Warded Man."

Anderson is attached to direct and will produce with Bolt. Stephanie Johnson, who brought the title to the pair, will executive produce.

Anderson and Bolt acquired the rights via their respective production companies, Tannhauser Gate and Bolt Pictures.

The book is set in an undetermined future where mankind is beset by nightly attacks from demonkind and has been thrown back into a feudal state. Three young people emerge with the potential power to turn the tide, including the title character, a man who has wards (spells) tattooed on his body.

"It was an occasion where it paid to be British," Anderson said. "It launched in the U.K. six months earlier than in the U.S., and we got wind of it when it was in galley form before the U.K. release. We think it has the potential to be a new 'Lord of the Rings'-style epic, and the book has all this great imagery."

Added Bolt: "We put our own money to buy it. We were reading all these great reviews, and we thought someone was going to buy it pretty fast."

Novelist Brett was an ad man with a two-hour commute to Manhattan; he wrote the book on his BlackBerry.

The book, the first of a trilogy titled "The Demon Cycle," launched last year in Australia before hitting Europe, where it became an instant best-seller, notably in Germany and the U.K., where it is in its second and third printing, respectively.

Anderson and Bolt are in postproduction on "Pandorum," a sci-fi thriller starring Dennis Quaid and Ben Foster that is being released in September by Overture. Brett, repped by Joshua Bilmes, is revising the second novel in the "Demon Cycle," "The Desert Spear," which is scheduled for a simultaneous global release in April.