Stone Village acquires 'Amphibian'

Based on one of the most popular novels in history

Stone Village Pictures is diving into one of the most popular Russian properties in history, acquiring film and publishing rights to Alexander Belyaev's novel "The Amphibian."

Stone Village head Scott Steindorff will produce the romantic adventure drama with Jenia Kokotuha, who brought the project to the company.

"Amphibian" follows an American surgeon living in the Amazon who gives his son shark gills to survive a fatal respiratory disease. The young man's underwater life is complicated when he saves a local fisherman's daughter from a shark attack and romantic feelings surface between them.

The 1928 novel was turned into a 1962 big-screen Russian blockbuster, "Amphibian Man," released domestically on DVD from Image Entertainment. As with the earlier properties, Steindorff said, the sci-fi elements will remain as a backdrop to the film's dramatic and comedic love story, which he likens to " 'Splash' meets 'Forrest Gump.'"

Steindorff is hiring a screenwriter to adapt the book and plans to publish a new English translation. Comic book and graphic novel adaptations also are planned through the Stone Village imprint, handled by Intellectual Property Group's Joel Gotler.

The "Love in the Time of Cholera" producer recently announced another classic Russian novel screen adaptation, Mikhail Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita."