DreamWorks acquires Crichton’s book; Spielberg may direct

MUMBAI: DreamWorks 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. An action-adventure set in 1665, Pirate Latitudes is about 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 was writing Pirate Latitudes before his death and the manuscript was found in completed form by his assistant. HarperCollins plans to publish the novel on 24 November, 2009.

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. 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," said Spielberg.

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

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