There seems to be something about writer Marcus Sakey's stories that film producers just can't resist. The film rights to his debut novel, The Blade Itself, were bought by Ben Affleck in 2008, and an adaptation of his third novel, entitled Good People, has been purchased by Millenium films with Henrik Genz (The Killing) attached to direct, Tobey Maguire producing and James Franco and Jessica Chastain in talks for the lead roles.
Sakey is now ready to publish his fifth novel in six years. Brilliance is reportedly a slight divergence from Sakey's drama and crime thriller background toward an X-Men-style premise - painting a picture of an alternate universe where 1% of children are born with exceptional powers.
Here's the official synopsis from Amazon:
In Wyoming, a little girl reads people’s darkest secrets by the way they fold their arms. In New York, a man sensing patterns in the stock market racks up $300 billion. In Chicago, a woman can go invisible by being where no one is looking. They’re called “brilliants,” and since 1980, one percent of people have been born this way. Nick Cooper is among them; a federal agent, Cooper has gifts rendering him exceptional at hunting terrorists. His latest target may be the most dangerous man alive, a brilliant drenched in blood and intent on provoking civil war. But to catch him, Cooper will have to violate everything he believes in—and betray his own kind.
The on-paper version of Brilliance won't be released until July, but Legendary Pictures has wasted no time in getting their hands on the film rights. Deadline recently confirmed that, after vying with Fox for the acquisition, Legendary has already attached producers Joe Roth and Palak Patel.
Roth and Patel have previously teamed up on five different projects, including Snow White and the Huntsman, Oz the Great and Powerful and the forthcoming Sleeping Beauty prequel Maleficent. Brilliance is Sakey's fourth novel to be optioned for the big screen, though there's been no news on The Blade Itself or At The City's Edge since 2009.
The release schedule for the next few years is already looking a little over-saturated with superhero movies - The Avengers 2, Iron Man 3, Kick-Ass 2, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier to name a few. Based on Sakey's previous writing, however, it seems as though Brilliance will be a crime-thriller first and foremost, with the super-powers simply adding an interesting twist to the plot. If the film manages to distinguish itself tonally from the more fantastical contenders of the genre then it could make for an interesting, more realistic, take on what it means to be super-human.
No news yet as to when Brilliance is likely to begin production, but we'll be sure to keep you updated.