This week in Page to Screen—PW's weekly column tracking film rights circulating and sold in Hollywood—CAA shops the new Thomas Pynchon, and Stephen Moore takes out an Edgar winner's newest thriller.
After something of a lull in Hollywood, with fewer book manuscripts circulating around town—it could have been a post-BEA malaise or the unshaky afterglow of the William Morris-Endeavor merger—a number of books started making the rounds this week. Though a rep from CAA would not comment about it, we hear Bob Bookman at the agency is shopping the film rights to Thomas Pynchon's August-dropping new novel from Penguin, Inherent Vice. The notoriously reclusive Pynchon, whose biggest flirtation with Hollywood was his pixelated cameo in The Simpsons (complete with bag-over-head), has never had any of his complex postmodern prose turned into a film, so who knows what the fate of Vice will be in Tinseltown. The book, which bloggers started chattering about back in November after some outlets, like the L.A. Times, got hold of Penguin's digital jacket copy, is promised to be leaner and less weighty than some of Pynchon's previous efforts. (It's less than 400 pages, which is something for Pynchon, who's penned 1,000-plus-page tomes.) About a billionaire land developer in late '60s L.A., per Penguin, the novel might be the author's least serious. As Wired noted: "Inherent Vice sounds less like the fractal paranoia of Gravity’s Rainbow and more like the deranged sunshine noir of The Big Lebowski." Certainly Lebowski might sit better with execs than Gravity's Rainbow, right?
Another book making the rounds is David Ellis's Hidden Man. Stephen Moore at Paul Kohner is shopping the film rights to the book, which Susanna Einstein at LJK sold to Putnam in June 2008—the book pubs in August. The first in a new series featuring a Midwestern everyman attorney, Jason Kolarich, Hidden Man spins around Kolarich being hired by a third party to get one of his childhood friends off the hook for a 30-year-old murder. Ellis, a Chicago lawyer who won an Edgar for his first novel, the 2002 Line of Vision, is a new client for Moore, who said after just taking out the manuscript that he's got "serious" interest from two producers, both of whom are looking to attach a screenwriter to the project.