‘Brilliance’ Novel From Amazon Publishing Arm Nears Film Deal

Brilliance, a novel by Marcus Sakey, has moved closer to a film deal with Legendary Pictures, becoming one of the first Thomas and Mercer (Amazon) books to near crossover status into Hollywood, Deadline reported on Tuesday, March 12.

The company has attracted motion picture stars like James Franco to publish with its imprints but has yet to experience the same open arms from Tinseltown.

This book, which has been equated with X-Men, could change that.

The Brilliance novel takes place in an alternate universe where one percent of kids are born with special powers and christened “brilliants” for their gifts.

It pits a federal agent and a master savant terrorist — both part of this exclusive group — against one another in a race against time to prevent civil war.

Sakey’s previous works include The Blade Itself and Good People.

This effort will not see publication until July 2013, but it has already attracted attention from Fox, where X-Men also resides. Deadline noted that the studio presented a “ticking clock” offer that expired today with no action.

Sources tell the website Legendary, the studio behind a few films you may have heard of — The Dark Knight Rises, The Hangover — is now in the driver’s seat.

Despite the Thomas and Mercer/Amazon imprint being a relative newcomer, it has managed to shake things up quite a bit, but most of that shaking up has stayed on the publishing side.

In April 2012, the company scored a big coup when it acquired rights to the original James Bond novels from the Ian Fleming estate.

Corinne Turner, managing director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd., told The Wall Street Journal at the time that heirs of the 007 scribe went with Amazon because “we believe that their online abilities will bring our books to a much larger audience than we’ve had before.”

Considering Fleming’s books have sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, that’s a huge vote of confidence.

Amazon has irked traditional publishers in the past for its move toward exclusivity. In February 2012, Barnes & Noble pulled Amazon Publishing titles from its shelves, and several other book stores followed suit.

Barnes & Noble argued that by Amazon Publishing making their ebooks exclusive to one platform, the company was undermining the industry. (Amazon has since relented on this decision.)

Supporters of Amazon claimed at the time that the “undermining” was really “innovating” and that traditional publishers were just experiencing sour grapes over not having thought of the eBook revolution first.

With the Brilliance novel from Marcus Sakey, is Amazon poised to make its next big splash at the movies?

[Image via Brett Carlson from Marcus Sakey website]