DreamWorks Hires Koepp for ‘Pirate Latitudes’ Movie

book_pirate_latitudesw.jpgDreamWorks Studios has acquired the movie rights to the Michael Crichton novel, Pirate Latitudes with David Koepp coming on board to write the screenplay adaptation.

Steven Spielberg will produce and may potentially direct the film adaptation of Crichton’s novel, which is one of two by the acclaimed author being published posthumously.

An action-adventure set in 1665, Pirate Latitudes centres on a daring plan to infiltrate Port Royal, one of the world’s richest and most notorious cities, and raid a Spanish galleon filled with treasure.Crichton, who died of cancer last November, was writing Pirate Latitudes before his death and the manuscript was found in completed form by his assistant, along with about one-third of a second, which is described as a technological thriller. HarperCollins will publish the novel on 24th November 2009 and are planning a one million print run.

Spielberg, Crichton, and Koepp have a long history together. Crichton wrote the novels to both Jurassic Park and The Lost World, and with Koepp adapted the former into the screenplay which Spielberg went on to direct. Koepp also adapted the screenplay for the sequel, The Lost World which Spielberg also directed.

In 1994 Crichton and Spielberg collaborated on the television series E.R. which went on to be one of the longest running and most successful television shows in history. Koepp has worked on several other projects with Spielberg including War of the Worlds and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He also wrote and directed Ghost Town for DreamWorks Studios last year.

“Michael Crichton was one of our greatest storytellers who expanded all of our imaginations with his books, films, and television,” said Steven Spielberg. “With the E.R. series and Jurassic Park series, I enjoyed one of the best collaborations of my career. Now with Pirate Latitudes, I and all of us at DreamWorks have the chance to be excited about bringing this new Michael Crichton work to the screen.”

“Michael was a scrupulous researcher and one of the most innovative writers of our era,” said David Koepp. “To have gotten to work with one of his novels was a privilege; to work with three seems like a dream.”

Pirate Latitudes is an unbelievably thrilling entertainment – even by Crichton’s standards – and is set to become a huge bestseller for the holidays,” said Jonathan Burnham, Senior Vice President and Publisher of Harper. “We’re delighted to see it embraced by the amazing talents of Steven Spielberg and David Koepp, proving the enduring belief in Michael Crichton’s work as the ultimate treat for readers and movie-goers alike.”

Pirate Latitudes is a departure from Mr. Crichton’s longtime fictional preoccupation with the moral and social ramifications of science and technology, but as Burnham pointed out to the New York Times back in April, the novel also harks back to the kind of historical yarn that Mr. Crichton wrote in the The Great Train Robbery, first published in 1975.

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