Universal Ready For A Maximum Ride?

Catherine Hardwicke project leaving Sony

The genetically-tinkered, part-bird teens of James Patterson’s novel series Maximum Ride are flying away from their Sony nest, and Universal is busy dangling worms in the hope that they and director Catherine Hardwicke will make a landing there.

Yes, that torturous set of avian metaphors really is reporting that Sony has shoved the adaptation of Patterson’s young-adult fiction into turnaround. Now Universal is close to picking up the rights, with Hardwicke still attached to direct.

The plot follows six teens known as the Flock, who are a mixture of bird and human. After learning to fly, they escape the laboratory where they’ve been kept and flee a pack of human/wolf crossbreeds called the Erasers.

But not, of course, before crapping all over the scientists’ cars.*

Universal has hired Iron Man co-writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby to try to crack the script, which Sony had ditched as it impinged on their plans to reboot Spider-Man as a more youthful franchise.

*Okay, maybe we made that bit up.