This week: Horror visits a New England town and cool comes to Hollywood. Plus, an agent switches sides.
There's nothing scary about the box office grosses for recent horror hits such as The Grudge and Hide and Seek (the reviews, however, are another matter). This week, the Gersh Agency's Sarah Self, a self-professed horror junkie, mixes business with pleasure with her latest submission, Keeper by Sarah Langan. Self found her client after conducting an online search for other local horror fans. She dropped by a meeting of the New York chapter of the Horror Writers Association, which consisted of, in her words, "nine people hanging around a bar talking about different ways to kill people." Langan's psychological suspense thriller, about a woman living in a faded New England mining town who discovers that her sister is not quite what she seems, is the Columbia M.F.A.'s first book. Film execs who've read Keeper liken it tonally to Rosemary's Baby and Carrie. Joe Veltre of Artists Literary Group will handle book rights.
In a fad-crazy town where even what you wear around your wrist can have serious career repercussions (you're not still wearing that red Kabbalah string bracelet, are you?), Hollywood's fascination with trend forecasters—those people paid lots of money by corporations to find out what the hipsters are up to—should surprise no one. Eight years ago, Universal paid big bucks for the film rights to Malcolm Gladwell's excellent 1997 New Yorker article about "cool hunters," but nothing came of it. (The rights reverted to the author.) Now the recent preempt by Doubleday of James P. Othmer's The Futurist (no pub date scheduled yet) may give some development execs déjà vu. In the novel, a burned-out trend-spotter starts to receive notes predicting events that will happen to him. Each note is signed "Nostradamus." When the predictions prove accurate, the hero must figure out who's behind the mysterious messages. Film scouts who've read the widely leaked manuscript praise the intriguing setup and the novel's world, although they say it is by no means a seamless adaptation. One studio person called it a "novel of ideas," while another (who still likes it) feels the "wrap-up is a problem." David Gernert of the Gernert Agency is handling film rights.
Briefs... After years of repping the film rights for Curtis Brown's stable of authors (such as Po Bronson, Wes Craven and Frances Mayes), agent Ed Wintle may soon get to see his own work on the big screen. Hart Sharp Entertainment, the producer behind the Oscar-nominated You Can Count on Me and the upcoming screen version of David Auburn's Pulitzer Prize—winning Proof, have optioned Wintle's Breakfast with Tiffany: An Uncle's Memoir (Miramax Books, June). Wintle's book chronicles the many ways his life as a gay single man in the city changed after he was appointed guardian to his troubled 13-year-old niece, the Tiffany of the title. Gersh's Amy Schiffman brokered the film deal.