CULVER CITY, Calif., Dec 15, 2009 - Sony Pictures Entertainment is concluding negotiations to option the English language motion picture rights to the Millennium Series, a trio of crime-thriller novels by the late Swedish writer Stieg Larsson, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, Presidents of Columbia Pictures. Scott Rudin was instrumental in securing the rights and is attached to produce along with Ole Sondberg and Soren Staermose of Swedish production company Yellow Bird Films. Yellow Bird's Mikael Wallen and Anni Fernandez will executive produce.
The Millennium novels focus on Mikael Blomkvist, a journalist and investigator and Lisbeth Salander, a wild-child, punk computer hacker with a photographic memory. Through the series, the unlikely pair find themselves embroiled in mysteries that not only put their lives at risk, but expose the people, companies, and machinery that pull the strings that control our daily lives.
Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said, "Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series is nothing short of amazing. The novels are very cinematically told, with fantastic characters and page-turning plots. Once you start reading, they are impossible to put down. Lisbeth Salander is one of the most compelling characters in contemporary fiction and we couldn't be more excited about bringing this project to the screen."
Larsson was best-known in Sweden as a journalist and political activist. Following Larsson's death, his heirs discovered three finished books – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl who Played with Fire, and The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest. Larsson apparently wrote these crime-fiction novels in his evenings, for his own pleasure – and after his death, they became international bestsellers. (Larsson also left an unfinished fourth book and outlines of a fifth and sixth.) In 2008, by one measure, Larsson was the #2-selling author in the world, behind only Afghani-American author Khaled Hosseini and the novels are steadily becoming a literary phenomenon in North America.
Yellow Bird Films has separately completed a filmed Swedish-language adaptation of the novels for Swedish television and home video release. Columbia Pictures is concluding its agreement to option the novels and produce new, English-language productions based upon the material.
Yellow Bird Films was represented in the deal by UTA and attorney Linda Lichter.
Belgrad is overseeing development of the film for the studio with Elizabeth Cantillon.
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