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Doug Liman to Direct ‘Unearthed’ for Columbia and Cross Creek

Variety logo Variety 6/7/2017 Justin Kroll
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Columbia Pictures has picked up the rights to “Unearthed,” a sci-fi adventure that has Doug Liman attached to direct.

Jez and John-Henry Butterworth are penning the script, which is an adaptation of the upcoming YA book by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Cross Creek Pictures’ Tyler Thompson will produce.

The project was initially being developed by Cross Creek Pictures, which acquired the rights last year. Cross Creek will retain the right to co-finance under its deal with Columbia, which is eyeing the title as a potential franchise.

Set in a distant future where Earth has been undone by environmental disaster, “Unearthed” sees a scholar and a scavenger reluctantly team up to venture to the planet of a now-extinct alien race. With the promise of a salve for Earth, the two must work together to explore an ancient alien temple and finds its life-altering secrets. But the deeper they go, the more the two discover they may not be helping Earth, but rather hastening its destruction.

The book is due to be published in January 2018.

Liman is currently preparing to adapt “Chaos Walking,” which will star Daisy Ridley, for Lionsgate and has the Tom Cruise pic “American Made” bowing this fall. He is repped by CAA.

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