Columbia Pictures hasacquired film rights to Edward Abbey's comic bestseller The Monkey WrenchGang which Catherine Hardwicke willdevelop and direct.

The film has long been indevelopment with Ed Pressman's Edward R Pressman Film Corp and Pressman will serveas one of the producers on the project alongside Gary Burden and LloydPhillips. Alessandro Camon will serve as executive producer.

The legendary WilliamGoldman is writing the screenplay for the project which is about environmentalwarriors defending their land against industrial encroachment.

Columbia executive vicepresident of production Andrea Giannetti is supervising the project with productionpresident Matt Tolmach.

"The Monkey WrenchGang is an American classic,"Pressman said of the novel, which was published 30 years ago.

"Its time has finally cometo reach the screen. Public interest in environmental matters is high, andAbbey's irreverent, anti-establishment humour feels in synch with the times."

Hardwicke previouslydirected Lords Of Dogtownwhich opened in June through Sony's TriStar Pictures label.