Sandkings: Gore Verbinski to Helm Netflix Adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Novelette

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Sandkings: Gore Verbinski to Helm Netflix Adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Novelette

Sandkings: Gore Verbinski to Helm Netflix Adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Novelette

A feature adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Sandkings is in the works at Netflix with Oscar winner Gore Verbinski (Rango, Pirates of the Caribbean, A Cure for Wellness) set to direct the project. The adaptation is based on Martin’s 1979 novelette of the same name. The story was originally published in the sci-fi magazine Omni in August 1979 and won the Hugo and Nebula awards. It was later published in the short story collection Sandkings as well as Martin’s Dreamsongs. Dennis Kelly, creator of the original British series Utopia, will adapt the screenplay.

During an interview with Collider, Verbinski discussed his current projects, saying that “one of the screenplays is based on a George R.R. Martin short story called Sandkings, which is this brilliant little twisted short story that I love. And I’m working with a great writer, Dennis Kelly, who wrote the original [Utopia]… The British original series is brilliant. And Dennis is doing the adaptation, so I’m kind of excited about that.”

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According to the outlet, the story, set in Martin’s fictional Thousand Worlds universe, “follows a wealthy playboy named Simon Kress who collects dangerous, exotic animals. One day, he stumbles across a mysterious establishment called Wo & Shade, where he purchases a terrarium filled with four colonies of creatures called sandkings, which grow to fill whatever environment they are kept in. Each colony consists of a large female called the maw, and numerous insect-like mobiles that she controls via telepathy. In addition to finding food for the maw, the mobiles also construct a sandcastle around her to protect the maw from invading colonies.

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“Indeed, the four colonies — white, black, red and orange — often engage in coordinated wars with one another, especially once their new owner makes them fight over food by starving them. Simon begins taking bets on the outcomes of these wars, which leave some of his friends impressed, and others disgusted. Eventually, the sandkings escape Simon’s terrarium and begin to take over his house as their hunger — and Simon’s desperation — intensifies.”

John Baldecchi (The Mexican) will produce Sandkings through his Digital Riot Media banner.

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Sandkings was previously adapted in 1995 as a television film starring Beau Bridges that served as the first episode of The Outer Limits relaunch. The script was adapted by Melinda M. Snodgrass, Martin’s co-editor for the Wild Cards series. In 1987, the story was adapted as a graphic novel from DC Comics by writer Doug Moench and artists Pat Broderick and Neal McPheeters.

(Photo by Roy Rochlin/FilmMagic via Getty Images)