WB books Hughes pair for 'Eli'


Albert and Allen Hughes are coming aboard to direct "The Book of Eli," a postapocalyptic Western written by Gary Whitta for Warner Bros. Pictures. Joel Silver is producing with Silver Pictures' Susan Downey and Erik Olsen.

The script, which Warners bought this year, centers on a lone hero who must fight his way across the wasteland of a postapocalyptic America to protect a sacred book that might hold the key to saving the future of humanity.

Ironically, it was a book that was the key for the Hughes brothers getting the job to helm the feature. The duo had read the script, agreeing that it had been the best thing they had read in years, and knew they wanted it to be their next project. Using their own funds, they produced a hardcover tome that featured notes, comic panels, color photos and storyboards on how they envisioned the movie.

During a meeting with Warners production head Jeff Robinov, the duo dropped the book on his desk, saying, "This is what we want do to." That led to a sit-down with Silver Pictures, who loved the brothers' take as well as their passion.

The most recent movie the brothers directed was 2001's "From Hell." They are attached to direct "The Ice Man," a hit man biopic being produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Jason Blum, and "Kung Fu," based on the 1970s TV series, for Warners and Legendary. The studio is hoping to roll on "Eli" before year's end.

Whitta, who is writing "Diablo" for Legendary and Blizzard Entertainment, is repped by UTA, Circle of Confusion and attorney Howard Abramson.