Silver builds 'Empire' with Chair, Card


Joel Silver's Silver Pictures has optioned "Empire," an upcoming book and video game series from Provo, Utah-based intellectual property developer Chair Entertainment Group and best-selling sci-fi author Orson Scott Card.

Silver Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures are eyeing the pro- ject as an action film revolving around a scenario in the near future where the country has plunged into civil war after the White House is bombed and the president is assassinated. As fighting spreads through major cities, a lone operative being framed for the attacks is driven to find the truth to clear his name.

"Empire" is a video game prototype created by brothers Donald and Geremy Mustard of Chair and Card. "Empire" will first appear as a novel, Card's latest, scheduled for release Nov. 28.

Card and Donald Mustard will serve as executive producer on the film. Navid McIlhargey will oversee the project for Silver Pictures; Dan Lin will shepherd for Warners.

"I couldn't think of anyone in Hollywood that could make this story better than Joel Silver," Donald Mustard said. "He gets the franchise. He understands the story. And I think he's really good at not just cross-marketing a franchise, but making this type of a film."

Mustard said the "Empire" story is so expansive that he wanted it to be told in multiple mediums. The plan is to follow up the first book with a comic book series, which will tell a different story than the novel and start earlier in the time line of events than the book. The movie will follow and then the video game, which will be based in the same universe as the book. The goal is to try to launch the game and movie in the same window. Chair Entertainment has a first-person shooter prototype of the game, running on Epic Games' Unreal Engine 3 technology, which it is using to show game publishers. That same technology was used to sell the movie rights.

"This approach allows us to craft a very intricate story across multiple mediums," Mustard said. "The book franchise tells a great book story, but you can get way more detail in the comic book franchise than you could ever get in a book. We can do so many different things in the video game that you could never do in a book or a movie. These things will all work in conjunction to support each other."

Card will write the story for the next-generation video game, which Chair Entertainment will develop, and he will be involved with the creation of the comic book series, which is in the works.

Silver Pictures is shopping for a screenwriter for the film.

"The wonderful thing about this is that 'Empire' is a highly filmable story as written," Card said.

Card previously worked with the Mustard brothers on the Xbox and PC game "Advent Rising," which was developed by their former company, GlyphX Games, and published last year by Majesco.

Card separately is working with Warners on "Ender's Game," based on his best-selling book series.

Chair is repped by attorney Karl Austen.