Have you heard of Wool? This 60 page former e-book by Hugh C. Howey has caught the eye of 20th Century Fox, producer Steve Zaillian, and director Ridley Scott. The premise is of a future in which the outside world is toxic and people must live underground in silos. Any desire to leave is quashed; only criminals and wrongdoers ever go outside, because doing so means death.
Wool has also recently been picked up by the UK branch of Random House, the same division which published the
infamous 50 Shades of Gray. Mr. Howey certainly seems thrilled. He’s also groggily pleased about the Fox deal, albeit disappointed that the information was leaked early.
Like 50 Shades of Grey, which sold for about 5 million to Universal, bidding was fierce. Ridley Scott is certainly no stranger to sci-fi, as well as dystopias. There’s also a pretty good market out there right now for movies about worlds set in a future plagued by the effects of present day excesses and problems, mostly thanks to the incredible success of The Hunger Games. The premise of the story doesn’t seem like anything particularly new; it reminds me a little bit of City of Ember, which failed pretty miserably at the box office, or perhaps Wall-E what with the cautionary “this is the world your children are going to be living in because you messed it up.”
If you’re a fan already, you may also want to keep in mind that Blade Runner, an adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was vastly different from the original novel. The producers of the film version of Wool, if they even choose to keep the title, will also have a lot of leeway for details and plot additions, unless they choose to combine multiple books (Howey has already written four sequels) into the first movie. Will this be yet another example of seller beware?