Hollywood to film cult Millennium crime trilogy

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Hollywood hopes to make a screen version of the "Millennium" crime trilogy by the late Swedish author Stieg Larsson which has become a cult hit worldwide, a Swedish production company said Thursday.

"Sony is interested in buying the English-language rights for all of the books in the series," Mikael Wallen, the head of the Yellow Bird production company which owns the film rights, told AFP.

"We've been talking to them for a while, and have agreed with them on all the main points," including financial terms, he said, adding the two sides could conclude a deal in early 2010.

The three books have already been made into feature-length Swedish movies, but Sony plans to make its own English-language versions, not remakes.

Wallen said the movies would be produced by Yellow Bird and American producer Scott Rudin, known for his work on the Hollywood hits "Revolutionary Road", "The Hours" and "No Country for Old Men."

Sony "will not remake our movies. We will produce movies based on the same books, but not based on our Swedish films," Wallen said.

"If we are lucky, filming would start during 2011, (and the first) movie would be out during the second half of 2012" at the earliest, Wallen said.

The "Millennium" trilogy has become a phenomenon in Sweden and abroad, translated into more than 30 languages. More than 20 million copies have been sold in Europe alone, raking in 130 million kronor (12.5 million euros, 18.3 million dollars), according to Swedish news agency TT.

Larsson's books depict a dark and violent Sweden brimming with state and family secrets, and follow the lives of Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative reporter, and Lisbeth Salander, a feisty rebel hacker-turned-detective.

Larsson, who worked as a journalist in Stockholm before writing the books, did not live to enjoy the sensational success; he died in November 2004 of a heart attack, aged 50, a year before the first book was published.