Sony To Adapt Sci-Fi Novel The Electric Church

I'm always curious to see what happens when a studio looks to prose sci-fi to establish a new film series. That's what Sony is doing by hiring screenwriter Trevor Sands to write a film based on The Electric Church, the first in a series of novels by Jeff Somers. The novels are near-future techno-thrillers, with the first book described by Publishers Weekly as packed "with enough gunplay and explosions to satisfy a Hollywood producer."

THR reports that the film is currently called the Avery Cates Project, based on the name of the novel's lead character. Cates is "a bodyguard-assassin who, in Church, is forced by the governing police force to kill the founder of a church that converts people by transplanting their brains into pliant robotic bodies."

Sands is the same guy that Warner Bros. tapped to adapt the Hyperion novels from Dan Simmons, which have a few passing similarities with The Electric Church. Those similarities may only be superficial, but they do pop out: strange futuristic churches, noir settings and cyborg characters. But I wouldn't make too much of those common elements — it's fun coincidence more than anything else.

The other interesting tidbit in THR's report is that Sands has in face finished his adaptation of the Simmons novels Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion and that The Day the Earth Stood Still director Scott Derrickson remains attached to direct. Hyperion is one of those projects I'd love to see if done well, but with Warner Bros.' intent to make one film out of two sprawling books, I don't see how it can work. Not being a big fan of Derrickson's revamp of Day, I keep hoping this one will quietly go away or change hands, but that doesn't seem to have happened yet. Or, if it turns out that Sands has really cracked it, I'll be thrilled.