Fox, Ridley Scott nab film rights to self-published sci-fi series

As traditional book publishers are increasingly signing up self-published authors, Hollywood studios are also looking to self-published books for their next blockbuster. Last month, Universal Studios and Focus Features acquired the film rights to erotic trilogy “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which was self-published before being snapped up by Random House’s Vintage. Now 20th Century Fox has acquired the film rights to “Wool,” a five-part science-fiction series by Hugh Howey.

Deadline Hollywood broke the news and reports “Ridley and Tony Scott’s Scott Free are partnering on the deal with Film Rites’ Steve Zaillian and Garrett Basch. Producer credits are still being worked out, but they will include Scott Free’s Elisha Holmes and Michael Costigan. Fox’s Steve Asbell will oversee it.” Zaillian was the screenwriter for “Schindler’s List,” “Black Hawk Down” and “Moneyball.”

“Wool,” a series of five short books each priced at $0.99, is set in a post-apocalpytic future. Humans have damaged the planet so badly that they have to live underground in a giant silo. The books have sold almost 140,000 copies this year, Publishers Weekly reported last month. Hugh Howey is represented by literary agent Kristin Nelson of Nelson Literary Agency, and United Talent Agency’s Kassie Evashevski sold the film rights.

“I still have to keep my expectations low because the chances of something actually being made remain slim,” Howey said in a video on his website. But “I munched a lot of popcorn watching Ridley Scott films….whether or not anything gets put together, it’s unbelievable.”

The art illustrating this post was created by “Wool” fan Jasper Schreurs.