Web wrangle leads to movie deal for novelist

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Producers Don Murphy and John Wells have teamed up to option “The Flock,” a novel by James Robert Smith.

The book tells the story of a group of highly intelligent giant prehistoric birds discovered in the Florida Everglades who are intent on protecting their ancient home when faced with encroachment by theme park developers.

Murphy (“Transformers”) discovered Smith and his book by chance. Murphy was on the blog of Eddie Campbell, the artist of “From Hell,” an Alan Moore graphic novel whose big-screen translation was produced by Murphy.

Smith was posting comments critical of the film, putting Murphy on the defensive. Eager to find out more about the poster, Murphy discovered Smith had written a book. He quickly ordered it, expecting to hate it and ready to trash it. To his surprise, he fell for it. He then brought aboard “ER” producer Wells. The producers are now out to writers.