Sony finalizing Millennium series deal

Scott Rudin attached to produce crime thriller trilogy

Sony Pictures is in final discussions to option the English-language film rights to Stieg Larsson's posthumously published crime thriller trilogy, the Millennium Series.

Scott Rudin, who was instrumental in securing the rights, is attached to produce along with Ole Sondberg and Søren Stærmose of Swedish production company Yellow Bird Films. Yellow Bird's Mikael Wallen and Anni Fernandez will executive produce.

Steve Zaillian ("American Gangster") has been in discussions to adapt the first book, "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," a bestseller in Europe that has gained in notoriety since Random House published it in the U.S. No deal is yet in place.

"Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series is nothing short of amazing," said Columbia Pictures president Doug Belgrad, who will shepherd the projects with Elizabeth Cantillon. "The novels are very cinematically told, with fantastic characters and page-turning plots. Once you start reading, they are impossible to put down. Lisbeth Salander is one of the most compelling characters in contemporary fiction and we couldn't be more excited about bringing this project to the screen."

A Swedish author and journalist, Larsson died of a heart attack in 2004 with three unpublished novels in his desk. The trilogy has since been published to wide acclaim and widespread interest from readers.

Niels Arden Oplev and Daniel Alfredson directed adaptations of the novels produced by Stærmose and Yellow Bird; Oplev's "Tattoo" is the highest-grossing Swedish film of all time. Music Box Films has picked up the U.S. distribution rights.

Sony and Rudin's versions would derive from the original novels rather than as a remake of the Danish-Swedish films.

The book describes the mystery surrounding the long-unsolved disappearance of an heiress. A journalist recently dinged by a libel case and a young female hacker try to resolve it, stirring up bundles of personal and industrial corruption along the way. (The Swedish movie's title, "Man som hatar kvinnor" translates to "Men Who Hate Women.")

Rudin is known for producing literature-based properties, such as "Fantastic Mr. Fox," "Revolutionary Road," "No Country for Old Men" and "The Hours."

UTA repped Yellow Bird in the deal.

Oplev, the original "Tattoo's" Danish director, was recently picked up for representation by ICM.