Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Partners has tapped The Maze Runner filmmaker Wes Ball to direct a feature adaptation of Claire North‘s sci-fi novel The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Collider has confirmed.
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August follows a man who is repeatedly born into the same life and can remember all of his past experiences. He sets out to save the world from a similarly gifted rival who’s willing to make any sacrifice to attain godlike knowledge and power.
Blueprint Pictures (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) originally optioned the Hachette novel and developed the project, which is being adapted for the big screen by Melissa Iqbal (The Nevers). Blueprint’s Oscar-nominated principals Graham Broadbent and Peter Czernin will produce alongside Joe Hartwick Jr. (The Maze Runner) of Ball’s Oddball Entertainment. Amblin executives Jeb Brody and Andrew Calof will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
North’s novel has won acclaim in literary corners, but to be honest, this kind of story has never really appealed to me, as Groundhog Day-style gimmicks get old fast. Having said that, Ball is a smart hire for Amblin, and someone I could see Spielberg grooming for larger projects a la Colin Trevorrow, who took over the Jurassic franchise with Spielberg’s blessing.
Ball’s Maze Runner trilogy grossed close to a billion dollars worldwide, and he was recently tapped to reboot the Planet of the Apes franchise for Disney’s 20th Century Studios. That really speaks to the company’s affinity for Ball, seeing as how it pulled the plug on the director’s big-budget passion project Mouse Guard. The studio may not have wanted to make that movie at an estimated cost of $170 million, but executives clearly believed in Ball as a filmmaker.
With the current pandemic wreaking havoc on Hollywood schedules, it’s unclear whether Apes or Harry August will be next for Ball, but I’m excited to see him get back to work after coming so close to getting Mouse Guard off the ground. Ball is represented by WME, and his hiring was first reported by the Observer. For the latest on Ball’s planned Apes reboot, click here.