EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has learned that Village Roadshow Pictures has optioned New York Times-bestselling author Charles Pellegrino’s environmental horror novel Dust, which Dan Berk and Robert Olsen will adapt for the screen.
Published near the turn of the millennium in 1998, Dust is strangely prescient about the disastrous, inevitable effects of human progress on Earth’s ecosystem. The story follows maverick paleobiologist Richard Sinclair, who is one of the first to suspect the truth: that a series of random episodes are symptoms of a chain reaction triggered by a die-off of the world’s insects. As the old-world order collapses, Sinclair and a small group of scientists embark on a race against time.
Pellegrino is a writer and a scientist working in paleobiology and astronomy, a designer for projects including rockets and nuclear devices (non-military propulsion systems), composite construction materials and magnetically levitated transportation systems. After sailing with Robert Ballard to the Galapagos Rift in the immediate aftermath of the discovery of Titanic in 1985, Pellegrino expanded from the field of paleontology into archaeology. He is the scientist who invented the Jurassic Park Recipe, used by the late author Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg. Pellegrino is also a science adviser to James Cameron for films including Titanic, the Avatar series and science documentaries. He is repped by George Greenfield of CreativeWell, Inc.
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Jillian Apfelbaum is overseeing Dust for Village Roadshow. Berk & Olsen’s dark comedy Villains, starring Bill Skarsgård, Maika Monroe and Kyra Sedgwick, premiered at SXSW in March and will open September 20 in theaters. They are repped by Kaplan Perrone and lawyer Andrew Hurwitz.