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Lore Comic Adaptation Picks Up Steam With The Rock Onboard

HOLLYWOOD - NOVEMBER 22:  Actor Dwayne Johnson arrives at the "Faster" Los Angeles Premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre on November 22, 2010 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Dwayne Johnson

A multimillion-dollar bidding war has erupted among Hollywood's major movie studios over Lore, a hybrid of traditional narrative and graphic novel from the Australian husband-and-wife team of Ashley Wood (illustrator) and T.P. Louise (author and Wood's wife).

We're told that what's gotten the studio suits' Blackberrys all ablaze is that the Lore screenplay from Cory Goodman (who last adapted Min-Woo Hyung's graphic novel Priest into the 2011 thriller starring Paul Bettany) and co-writer Jeremy Lott now has Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson attached to star. Johnson is one of the few actors with massive appeal in overseas markets, as the cuckoo grosses for this year's Journey 2: The Mysterious Island show: It never cracked $100 million in the States, but made $215 million abroad.

The other reason studios are hyperventilating is that Lore does for monsters what Men in Black did for aliens: Mythical creatures assumed to be long-banished, extinct, or imaginary are actually held at bay by a secret society called the Shepherds. Inevitably, the nepotistic society fails to find the next generation, and needs to recruit outside its ranks … blah blah blah. Here enters The Rock. (Also helping matters, Lore begins as straight narrative from the past diaries of one of its characters, but when it jumps into the present day, the tale shifts into comic book format, with illustrations from Wood; it is, in effect, almost storyboarded and all but ready to go before cameras.)

It's not clear whether bidding will wrap up late Wednesday night, or early Thursday, but expect to see Lore land somewhere soon, and on a big screen not too long after that: We hear there are very serious progress-to-production penalties built into the deal memo.

Photo: Jason Merritt/2010 Getty Images