Mike Fleming

redrEXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has emerged from a bidding battle with Sony Pictures to win screen rights to Red Rising, the just-released Pierce Brown novel that World War Z director Marc Forster will helm as his next film. The deal is in the seven figures. Brown has written a script, and Joe Roth, Palak Patel and Renee Wolfe are producing. Deadline revealed Wednesday that the book was in play, and that it was expected to sell fast. Despite all the turbulence, Forster’s WWZ grossed $540 million worldwide, to become the biggest in Brad Pitt’s career.

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Like WWZ, Red Rising puts Forster back into chaotic action terrain. The tale takes place on desolate Mars, where the protagonist is caught in a class system that thrives on oppression and secrecy. He is a Red, the lowest member of society, born to toil in the bowels of the planet in service to the sovereign Golds. When Darrow suffers a devastating loss and betrayal he becomes a revolutionary, out to bring about social justice. Questions of fate, duality, and loyalty, evolve in a cruel test of war between the sons and daughters of the ruling elite. Universal’s Maradith Frenkel and Sara Scott are overseeing. CAA brokered the deal, and Forster’s also repped by Management 360. Pierce is co-repped by Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates.