John Ridley to Write Time-Travel Film Needle in a Timestack

12 Years a Slave scribe John Ridley takes a sci-fi turn, having signed to write time-travel film Needle in a Timestack.

While John Ridley continues handling high drama and hard topical content with this month’s debut of his Showtime miniseries Guerilla and the L.A. Riots documentary Let it Fall, he’s also made some clear signs that he wants to transition to more lighthearted and fun fare. While his name has been long-attached to the script of a mystery Marvel television project, it appears that a more immediate assignment will have him writing a film centered on time-travel.

It has been learned (via Deadline) that John Ridley closed a deal with Miramax to pen the script for a film called Needle in a Timestack, adapting the 1966 short story collection of the same name by Robert Silverberg. The story will center on a man who finds his marriage destroyed by a time-travelling rival, inciting him to do everything possible to prevent the incident, possibly with paradoxical consequences. The script will stand as Ridley’s first proper foray into the sci-fi genre, after spending his career handling powerful dramas and the occasional jump in comedy.

For Ridley, Needle in a Timestack could be indicative of his desired turn toward genres that are not quite as transparently politically charged as some of his signature work. With the mysterious Marvel television project still on his backlog, he recently stated his desire to eventually jump on a genre franchise, specifically something his children could enjoy. Indeed, Needle in a Timestack, while still not likely a kid-friendly crossover, does seem to be a potential transitional project for the Oscar-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave in his aspired genre-tackling metamorphosis.

Needle in a Timestack will be overseen by Miramax’s head of film and TV Zanne Devine and senior VP of film David Thwaites, with writer Ridley joined by executive producers Vince Gerardis (Game of Thrones) and Matt Kennedy (Predestination). The project is currently awaiting a director.

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In the meantime, John Ridley’s more immediate work can be seen with the premiere of his Showtime miniseries Guerilla on April 16, the ABC broadcast of his L.A. Riots documentary Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992 on April 28 and the return of his ABC television drama American Crime on April 30.