People in Brief

The Australian plant solanum watneyi is named for Mark Watney, the fictional botanist played by Matt Damon in the movie “The Martian.”

NEW YORK — Matt Damon may not win the Oscar for best actor on Sunday, but the character he played in “The Martian” has gotten its own recognition.

In a paper published Thursday in the journal PhytoKeys, scientists named a flowering Australian plant for Mark Watney, the fictional botanist Damon portrayed.

The plant is dubbed solanum watneyi. It’s related to the potato, which Watney grew on Mars as he puzzled out how to survive being stranded.

The journal article demonstrates that the plant represents a distinct species. One author, Chris Martine of Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, said the name reflects the film’s demonstration that “through the scientific process there are ... lots of things we can still learn.”

Besides, he said, botanists don’t have many “blockbuster Hollywood space heroes.”

LOS ANGELES — Ava DuVernay has been set to direct an adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1963 fantasy classic “A Wrinkle in Time” for Disney. A studio source confirmed the collaboration but was not authorized to discuss the deal publicly and requested anonymity.

The Newbery Medal-winning book follows the interdimensional adventures of a young girl whose government scientist father goes missing under mysterious circumstances.

“A Wrinkle in Time” is expected to go into production later this year with a script from “Frozen” writer and co-director Jennifer Lee. Catherine Hand, who also produced the 2003 TV movie adaptation of the book, is attached to produce alongside “8 Mile” producer James Whitaker.

NEW YORK — Joel McHale would like us all to get in touch with our inner Joel McHales.

The star of “Community” and host of “The Soup” has a deal with G.P. Putnam’s Sons for a comic memoir-self-help guide. The book is called “Thanks for the Money: How to Use My Life Story to Become the Best Joel McHale You Can Be.”

The publisher announced Friday that it is scheduled to be released in November.

McHale says in a statement that the book will include “every exciting, fascinating, troubling, and never-before-revealed detail” of his personal life. He says it also will have “unbelievably juicy celebrity anecdotes.”

LONDON — An acetate record cut by the Beatles before the Liverpool band hit stardom is going on auction.

The 1962 record made at the HMV record store on Oxford Street in London is believed to be the only one made. It was given by the band’s manager, Brian Epstein, to producer George Martin, who later signed the group.

On one side of the disc, Epstein wrote the names of the songs on the label, misspelling them each time. He attributed: “Hullo Little Girl” (Hello Little Girl) by John Lennon & The Beatles, while on the flip side, he wrote: “’Til There Was You,” (Till There was You) by Paul McCartney & The Beatles.

The 10-inch demo record is expected to fetch at least $14,000 when it goes on auction March 22 at Omega Auctions in Warrington.

Associated Press