Amazon/Simon & Schuster

A cult novel that both late director Hal Ashby ("Harold and Maude," "Being There") and Tim Burton tried and failed to bring to the big screen may finally be getting a film adaptation.

New Regency has picked up the film rights to the Gothic western "The Hawkline Monster" by Richard Brautigan. The complicated deal involved both the estates of the author and of Ashby, who spent years trying to adapt the novel.

The book, first published in 1974, tells of two unlikely hero gunslingers hired by a 15-year-old girl named Magic Child. She wants them to kill the monster that lives in the caves under the house inhabited by a woman named Miss Hawkline.

In 1975, Ashby struck a deal with Brautigan — whose novels include "Trout Fishing in America" — to adapt "Hawkline Monster." At various points, Jack Nicholson and Dustin Hoffman, and then brothers Jeff and Beau Bridges, were going to play the gunslingers.

Creative differences meant that the project died along with Brautigan, who passed away in 1984, and Ashby, who died in 1988.

Tim Burton later developed a version with Clint Eastwood and Nicholson set to star, but that, too, languished in development hell with the complicated estate rights.

Roy Lee, one of the producers behind "It," Andrew Trapani ("Winchester") and Steven Schneider ("Glass" and "Pet Sematary"), will produce the adaptation.

[Via THR]