EXCLUSIVE: Uri Singer and Aimee Peyronnet are teaming to acquire two works from the estate of French author Pierre Boulle, who wrote the novels The Planet of the Apes and The Bridge Over the River Kwai, which both were turned into iconic Hollywood movies.
The pair have acquired Boulle’s 1974 novel The Virtues of Hell, as well as Planet of the Men, an unproduced feature screenplay Boulle wrote after the first Planet of the Apes movie premiered in 1968 with Charlton Heston starring. The plan is to turn Virtues of Hell into a film, and adapt Planet of the Men for TV.
The Virtues of Hell centers on John Butler as he returns from war and turns to heroin to cope with his PTSD. He is pulled into a secret drug operation and tasked with developing a technique for producing the purest heroin ever created, all while the DEA, his past psychiatrists and lovers, drug smugglers and his own trauma try to chase him down.
As for Planet of the Men, Boulle penned the script following the 1968 premiere of Planet of the Apes, which was written by Michael Wilson and Rod Serling. Boulle’s new screenplay was designed to continue the series, but it was never produced. The Apes franchise continued with four sequels; later, Tim Burton did his version in 2001 and the franchise got another reboot in 2011 steered by Matt Reeves.
The Bridge Over the River Kwai was adapted into the David Lean-directed The Bridge on the River Kwai in 1957. It won seven Oscars including for Wilson and Carl Forman’s script adapting Boulle’s novel, which was based on a true story about British POWs in Burma. The writers were blacklisted and didn’t receive screen credits, so the Oscar was awarded to Boulle. Wilson and Forman were finally awarded posthumous Oscars in 1984.
The latest deals mark the latest page-to-screen rights deals for Singer and Peyronnet, the latter the former president of Luc Besson’s Los Angeles-based film banner. Singer’s slate via his Passage Pictures includes three Don DeLillo works in White Noise, being directed by Noah Baumbach; Underworld, set at Netflix with Ted Melfi writing and directing; and The Silence with Jez Butterworth attached to adapt. He is also developing adaptations of Kurt Vonnegut’s Hocus Pocus, Vladimir Nabokov’s Invitation to a Beheading and John Scalzi’s The Dispatcher.
His producing credits also include the Ethan Hawke-starrer Tesla and the sci-fi pic Marjorie Prime starring Geena Davis and Jon Hamm. He’s also out to studios with East Texas Hot Links, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, with Samuel L. Jackson attached.
Peyronnet’s previous credits includes developing Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones which was directed by Peter Jackson in 2009 and DBC Pierre’s Booker Prize winner Vernon God Little.
The Boulle rights deals were made with Zena Wakim of Olizane, which represents the estate. Singer is repped by Knol Law PC. Peyronnet is repped by Sloss Eckhouse Dasti Haynes Law Co.