Cross Creek to co-finance with Exclusive; John Hilary Shepherd adapting script.

Hammer Films has acquired the film rights to Cherie Priest’s novel Boneshaker, and Hammer will co-produce the film with Cross Creek Pictures. Cross Creek will co-finance with Hammer’s parent company Exclusive Media Group.

The deal was announced by Brian Oliver, President of Cross Creek Pictures, Simon Oakes, Vice-Chairman of Exclusive Media Group and President & CEO of Hammer Films and Guy East and Nigel Sinclair, Co-Chairmen of Exclusive Media Group.

John Hilary Shepherd, who worked on Showtime’s hit TV series Nurse Jackie, will adapt the screenplay.

Tobin Armbrust, Head of Production, is overseeing for Hammer Films.

The “steampunk” sci-fi story is set in an alternate version of 1880s Seattle, where a young widow searches for her son. She deals with airship pirates, a criminal overloard, zombies and armed refugees.

The book, published in 2009 by Tor Books, was nominated for a 2010 Hugo Award for Best Novel, and won the 2010 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Boneshaker is part of Priest’s The Clockwork Century series, which also includes Dreadnought, Ganymede and the forthcoming Inexplicables. A fifth book called Fiddlehead is also planned.

“First and foremost this is a great story. Bringing a steampunk style novel to life on the big screen is going to be very cool, very unique,” said Armbrust.

Boneshaker is a classic zombie movie with a modern twist which is quintessentially Hammer so it’s a perfect fit for us,” added Oakes. “Cherie Priest’s steampunk series are fantastic with a distinct, unique style and we’re really looking forward to bringing her ‘Rotters’ to the big screen.”

“It’s like Jules Verne meets Resident Evil, and we’re thrilled to have such a fun, commercial potential franchise in Boneshaker,” added Oliver. “John’s an exciting screenwriter and we see this being a real crowd pleaser.”

Cross Creek and Exclusive have already partnered on projects including The Ides of March, The Woman in Black, and Ron Howard’s upcoming Rush.

Cherie Priest was represented in the deal by Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass Literary Agency and John Hilary Shepherd was repped by attorney Joan Vento-Hall.