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'Arrival' Producers Plan New Sci-Fi Film With Director James Ponsoldt (Exclusive)

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The project from Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps takes place over one catastrophic night in Los Angeles.

After nabbing a spaceship’s worth of Oscar nominations for Arrival, Shawn Levy and his 21 Laps banner are jumping back into the elevated science fiction drama genre.

Fox 2000 has preemptively picked up an untitled pitch that is based on Inconstant Moon, a short story written by Larry Niven, the author behind sci-fi literary classic Ringworld.

James Ponsoldt is attached to direct while Daniel Casey is on a board to pen the script for the project, which Levy and 21 Laps’ Dan Cohen will produce. Ponsoldt will also produce through his 1978 Pictures banner as will Created By’s Vince Gerardis.

Moon asks the question of “What would you do if it were your last night on Earth?” and takes place over one catastrophic night in Los Angeles. The story focuses on the intimacy of a couple teetering on breaking up with the backdrop of an apocalyptic-level natural disaster that might end the world come sunrise.

The original tale was part of Niven’s 1971 short story collection All the Myriad Ways and won a Hugo Award for best short story in 1972.

The project reunites 21 Laps with both Ponsoldt (who directed their 2013 indie darling The Spectacular Now) and Casey (who wrote Kin, their sci-fi thriller for Lionsgate which recently wrapped production after spawning a bidding war at the 2016 Toronto Film Festival).

Ponsoldt, who last directed the acclaimed drama The End of the Tour, is in post on The Circle, the adaptation of the Dave Eggers novel starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks that is due to be released April. He also recently shot the Amazon pilot Legend of the Master Legend. He is repped by UTA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Frankfurt Kurnit.

Casey is one of the scribes currently generating heat around town with his work. He did a rewrite on Bad Robot’s thriller 10 Cloverfield Lane and has several projects set up, including Godforsaken at STX and superhero tale Incognito for Sony with Fede Alvarez attached to direct. He is repped by CAA and Writ Large.

21 Laps hit it big in 2016 with both Netflix’s Stranger Things and Arrival, both of which were on AFI’s 10 best of 2016 lists and were both nominated for their respective PGA, DGA and SAG awards. Arrival has now been nominated for eight Academy Awards, including best picture, best director (for Denis Villeneuve) and best adapted screenplay.

The company’s next feature outing will be Fist Fight, the New Line comedy that star Ice Cube and Charlie Day and that opens February 17.

Gillian Bohrer is overseeing for Fox 2000

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