Mathesons shop massive genre library
'Real Steel,' 'I Am Legend' author looking for studios to partner on creative vision
By MARC GRASER
“Real Steel” is based on a 1956 short story by Richard Matheson.
Sixty years after Hollywood started adapting his sci-fi, fantasy and horror tales into movies and TV shows, Richard Matheson is ready for a comeback.
The author, now 85, has teamed up with his screenwriting son, Richard Christian Matheson, and former William Morris literary agent Alan Gasmer to shop Matheson's library of 150 short stories, books, plays and scripts around town -- with one caveat: that he has a say in what winds up onscreen.
"Steel," a short story published in 1956, is the basis for DreamWorks' robot boxing pic "Real Steel," which stars Hugh Jackman and bows Friday through Disney's Touchstone banner.
His ghost story "Earthbound" already is set up at DreamWorks, with Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald producing. And negotiations are under way with 20th Century Fox and Shawn Levy's 21 Laps shingle for the film rights to his 1963 short "Deus Ex Machina," about a man who discovers he's mechanical when he cuts himself and bleeds oil. Levy helmed "Real Steel."
Matheson may not be a household name in the same vein as a Stephen King or even Stephenie Meyer,but his work is certainly recognizable.
His vampire tale "I Am Legend" has spawned three pics, with Will Smith starring in WB's most recent version, while "What Dreams May Come," "The Incredible Shrinking Man," "A Stir of Echoes" "Somewhere in Time" and "The Legend of Hell House" are based on his novels.
Steven Spielberg turned "Duel" into a telepic, while "Button, Button" and "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" were adapted as "Twilight Zone" and "Night Gallery" episodes, which then became pics like "The Box."
"People are not necessarily aware of who I am but they're aware of the things that I've written," Matheson told Variety.
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