Steve Kloves To Adapt T.J. Newman Novel ‘Drowning’ For Paul Greengrass At Warner Bros.

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has set Steve Kloves to adapt Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 421. The T.J. Newman bestseller that will be directed by Paul Greengrass.

The director initially expected to write the script himself, but then signed on to direct The Lost Bus with Matthew McConaughey and Jamie Lee Curtis for Blumhouse, with script by Mare of Easttown creator Brad Ingelsby. Drowning is a big priority for Warner Bros, which paid $1.5 million against $3 million in a bidding battle. In Kloves, they have the guy who scripted all but one of the Harry Potter films, produced and/or wrote the spinoff Fantastic Beasts films, as well as The Amazing Spider-Man, Wonder Boys and The Fabulous Baker Boys.

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Greengrass will produce with Shane Salerno and The Story Factory and Greg Goodman, with Newman and Amy Lord serving as executive producers.

In Drowning, a plane crashes in the Pacific Ocean six minutes after takeoff and is flooded after an explosion during evacuation. A dozen survivors sink in a sealed part of the aircraft as it perches precariously on an undersea cliff 200 feet below the surface. Among them is an engineer and his 11-year-old daughter. His estranged wife — she’s also the girl’s mother — is part of the elite rescue team that races to save the passengers before their air runs out.

The expectation is that Greengrass does this after finishing the Blumhouse film, and it becomes a summer tent pole. This comes after Deadline revealed that the next installment of The Bourne Identity franchise will be directed by All Quiet on the Western Front helmer Edward Berger. Greengrass, who directed three Bourne films and with Matt Damon established it as a billion-dollar franchise, followed those films with the searing 22 July and News of the World. Drowning plays to his strength: a technically complex and pulse-pounding rescue operation combined with the human element of a mother in a desperate race to save her daughter. He did that with the Bourne films, 22 July, United 93, Captain Phillips and going back to his narrative feature breakthrough, Bloody Sunday.

Newman worked as a flight attendant as she wrote her debut novel Falling, which sold in three seven-figure deals: a worldwide publishing deal with Avid Reader/Simon & Schuster, foreign rights in more than 30 countries and a $1.5 million movie deal with Universal and Working Title. The novel became the fastest-selling fiction debut for Simon & Schuster since 2004.

Kloves is repped by CAA. Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 421 was published in May by Simon & Schuster.

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