Paramount Developing H.G. Wells Project From Wes Ball’s OddBall Entertainment; Laura Gillis Tapped To Write Latest Draft Of The Script

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures is in early development on an untitled H.G. Wells project from Wes Ball’s OddBall Entertainment, under its Paramount Players label.

While specific information on the Wells novel at its center hasn’t been disclosed, we hear that it will be a very loose adaptation stemming from the “mythology” that surrounds one of the writer’s most iconic titles. The film’s logline is being kept under wraps. A director has not yet been attached.

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Rising screenwriter Laura Gillis is writing the screenplay, based off of a previous incarnation by T.S. Nowlin (The Adam Project, Pacific Rim: Uprising). OddBall Entertainment’s Ball, Joe Hartwick Jr. and Hank Wyler will produce, under their first-look deal with the studio, alongside Nowlin.

Wells is the iconic English sci-fi writer known for novels including The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds, among many others, who over the course of his career was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times. Notable past adaptations of his work for film include Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds, starring Tom Cruise, for Paramount; three iterations of The Time Machine; and two takes on The Island of Dr. Moreau. The former 1977 effort, starring Burt Lancaster, hailed from director Don Taylor and American International Pictures, with the latter 1996 film starring Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, David Thewlis and Fairuza Balk being made for New Line Cinema by John Frankenheimer.

Ball is a writer, director and producer best known for helming all three films in 20th Century Fox’s Maze Runner franchise. He founded the production company OddBall Entertainment, which develops projects for both film and TV, alongside Hartwick Jr. in 2014.

A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Gillis began her career working for prominent producers and executives at various Academy Award-winning companies before moving on to writing and directing full-time, using her horror short Crystal as a launchpad. Her original spec script Possessions later caught the attention of studio and production execs, with another script by the writer currently making its way around town.

Nowlin co-wrote The Maze Runner with Noah Oppenheim and Grant Pierce Myers, and served as sole scribe on the sequels. He also co-wrote Steven S. DeKnight’s Pacific Rim sequel Pacific Rim: Uprising for Universal Pictures, along with Shawn Levy’s recently released sci-fi adventure film The Adam Project, starring Ryan Reynolds, which registered the third-best opening week of any Netflix film upon its global premiere.

Ball is represented by WME and Goodman, Genow, Schenkman; Gillis by Paradigm and Management 360; and Nowlin by WME, Management 360 and McKuin Frankel Whitehead.

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