Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-winning scribe Dustin Lance Black has been set to script Earthquake, a big scale disaster film for Universal that is being produced by JJ Abrams, Bryan Burk and their Bad Robot banner. While Universal made the 1974 film that starred Charlton Heston, I’m told that the title and natural disaster subject is all the films share. So it is not a remake.

This puts Universal potentially in a competitive situation with New Line, which has a 3D earthquake project set up under the title San Andreas 3D.

There have been rumblings of an earthquake film from Abrams and Universal since 2008, when the project was first set up with The Omen‘s David Seltzer writing. It languished, but now the project is regaining momentum. Black won his Oscar for Milk, and followed with J. Edgar. He most recently has been adapting the Jon Krakauer book Under the Banner of Heaven at Warner Bros for Ron Howard to direct and Brian Grazer to produce through Imagine, and he scripted Barefoot Bandit for Fox. He’s currently adapting the Dark Horse graphic novel 3 Story as a directing vehicle, with Laurence Mark producing. He’s repped by CAA.