Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, the team behind the 2010 Sundance Film Festival documentary Catfish and Paranormal Activity 3, will write and direct an adaptation of the Edward Abbey novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. The project has been set up by Edward R. Pressman, who is producing with Grammy-winning album cover artist Gary Burden. The producers have been tooling around with The Monkey Wrench Gang for about 15 years but feel they’ve now got the right filmmakers to see through a movie adaptation of the ’70s tale.

Written in 1975, the novel follows a gang of four guys who try to battle over-development in the American West in the 70s. They do this with bumbling attempts at sabotage, attacking deserted bulldozers, construction equipment and trains, with a vow they will not harm a human, animal, plant or rock. Well, three of the quartet take that to heart; the fourth, a young Vietnam vet named Hayduke, wants to blow shit up. Alessandro Camon is exec producing with Pressman COO Jon Katz and Sarah Ramey and Matthew Rhodes are co-producers.

“We’re excited and honored to turn this book into a movie,” Joost and Schulman said. “People often ask us why we work together and as Edward Abbey used to say, ‘One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity, there ain’t nothin’ can beat teamwork.’ “ Said Pressman: “Henry and Ariel’s approach to the film adaptation will connect to the humor and cultural zeitgeist of today in the same way Abbey’s book does. I’m delighted to collaborate with them on this irreverent comedy.”

Joost & Schulman, who followed Catfish by directing Paranormal Activity 3 and watching it gross over $200 million worldwide, are reuniting with Paramount on Paranormal Activity 4. Their short, A Brief History Of John Baldessari, premiered in the 2012 SXSW documentary short competition.

Pressman is separately mounting a reboot of two franchises: The Crow, with Javier Gutierrez direcitng a Jesse Wigutow script for Relativity Media, and Bloodsport, which Robert Kamen has scripted for Salt helmer Phillip Noyce.

CAA reps the directors.