Flush with the cascading waterfall of revenue from his "Transformers" sequel, director Michael Bay is getting right back into business with DreamWorks, which developed the Hasbro property while at Paramount.
Early Friday afternoon, the studio completed a deal to purchase pre-emptively the film rights to "I Am Number Four," an unpublished science fiction book, for Bay to produce and possibly direct. It is the first in a planned six-volume series co-written by "A Million Little Pieces" author James Frey.
Neither the studio nor WME, which represents Frey and Bay, would confirm Frey or divulge the name of the other author.
The deal is in the high-six figures.
WME began shopping the book's feature and publishing rights early in the week to a number of producers and studios. The agency used a pseudonym for the authors presumably because Frey is notable mainly for his scandal-ridden fudging of facts in his ostensible memoir of addiction and subsequent high-profile dressing down by Oprah Winfrey on her show.
The "Four" story line involves nine alien teens assimilating to high school on Earth after their planet is destroyed by an enemy species. The fourth of the group discovers that the enemy is now after him on Earth.
Bay liked the concept enough to take the manuscript to DreamWorks principals Stacey Snider and Steven Spielberg, with whom he made "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," and they leapt at the chance to team up once again. Spielberg's influence was heavy on the two "Transformers" films -- he is credited as an executive producer -- and he is expected to have a similar involvement with "Four."
The book's publishing rights remain available, though there has been interest from multiple entities. That Spielberg and Bay have endorsed the story's appeal no doubt increases its potential for a sizable sale.