Ursula K. Le Guin's Sci-Fi Novel 'The Telling' Getting Big-Screen Adaptation (Exclusive)

Credit: Anthony Pidgeon / Getty
Ursula K. Le Guin

Producers had been working with the late author on the project before she passed away in January.

The Telling, the acclaimed sci-fi novel from influential American author Ursula K. Le Guin — who died in January — is being adapted for the big screen.

Bayview Films, a division of Bayview Labs, announced the project Wednesday, with Rekha Sharma (Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek: Discovery) set to star. The film will be written and directed by Leena Pendharkar (20 Weeks, Raspberry Magic).

The Telling follows Sutty Dass (Sharma), who travels from war-torn earth to the planet Aka, which has suppressed its rich culture in the march to technological advancement. While traveling, Sutty discovers the remnants of a banned religion and a hidden culture. As she moves deeper into the countryside and the desolate mountains, she learns more about the Telling — the old faith of the Akans — and more about herself. With her creation of this intricate environment, author Ursula K. Le Guin invites us to reflect on our own complicated history and the price of progress.

"I’m honored to bring the work of one of science fiction's most esteemed writers to the screen especially in these times when strong female voices are needed," said Pendharkar, whose previous film 20 Weeks earned acclaim on the festival circuit last year after world premiering at the Los Angeles Film Festival and which will be released theatrically in the spring of this year. "The Telling is a humanistic science fiction film about a woman trying to find her way in a culture overrun by technology."

The Telling is being produced by Bayview Film founder Rizwan Virk, whose sci-fi and fantasy résumé include Knights of Badassdon (starring Peter Dinklage and Summer Glau), UFO documentary Thrive, the Mythica series (starring Kevin Sorbo) and Radio Free Albemuth, adapted from the novel by Philip K. Dick. Joining the producing team is J.D. Seraphine, producer of the crowdfunded doc Sirius, and the upcoming biopic based on the life of Nolan Bushnell, founder of Atari and godfather of the video game industry.

“I’ve been a fan of Ursula K. Le Guin’s science fiction and fantasy for many years," said Virk. "Our team had been working on the script for The Telling with her over the past few years, and we were extremely saddened to hear of her recent passing."

Added Virk: "The Telling brings together a very personal story of self-exploration while exploring much broader themes related to science, alien civilizations, religious freedom and technological progress."

Production on The Telling is slated to start later this year, with a theatrical release planned for 2019.