If Hollywood is high school with money, and Washington is Hollywood for ugly people, what can viewers expect when Sarah Jessica Parker comes to D.C.? HBO has just optioned Jessica Cutler's The Washingtonienne (Hyperion, June), for Parker's Pretty Matches Productions and producer Jason Blum. Cutler, Wonkette Web site readers will recall, is the comely young Senate staffer who supplemented her paltry government paycheck by engaging in extracurricular hanky-spanky with fellow Republicans. The Sex in the City alum won't star in the planned series, but Inkwell's Pilar Queen said Parker had been on the lookout for a sexy series set in D.C., so Cutler's barely veiled novel of Capitol Kama Sutra was a natural candidate.
One person who probably won't be tuning in is Cutler ex-boyfriend Robert Steinbuch, a judiciary committee staff member who sued her after she scored a healthy six-figure advance for The Washingtonienne. Steinbuch claimed Cutler's blog exposed the apparent spanking enthusiast to "severe... humiliation, embarrassment, and anguish"—a strange allegation to make since Cutler referred to her conquests only by their initials. Steinbuch ultimately dropped the case, presumably hoping to avoid any additional publicity (say, by appearing as a boldface name in a publishing trade magazine). Inkwell's MichaelCarlisle also represents Cutler. CAA's Shari Smiley negotiated the TV deal.
Former booksellerSara Gran must have spent a lot of time in the film section of the New York City bookstore where she worked. The two-time novelist has landed her second major movie deal, this time for Dope (Putnam, 2006) a gritty period thriller about a suburban couple who hire a female ex-junkie to find their heroin-addicted daughter, a Barnard student who has disappeared. The manuscript got good reads from scouts when it leaked earlier this year, but Paramount was the first to step up with a six-figure offer. Gran could be forgiven for having high Hollywood standards: Michael London (Sideways) will produce Dope for the studio, while her debut novel, Come Closer (Soho, 2003), is set up at Miramax with Wings of the Dove screenwriter (and Harvey Weinstein favorite) Hossein Amini adapting. (Dope was previously under contract to HarperCollins, but acquiring editor Dan Conaway took it with him when he made the move downtown.) Simon Lipskar of Writers House represents Gran for lit. Hotchkiss & Associates Jody Hotchkiss co-agented.
After Alexander Payne,Steven Shainberg just might be the most book-friendly director around. Payne's last three films (Sideways; About Schmidt; Election), of course, were all based on the novels of the same names. Shainberg achieved his breakout with 2002's Secretary, inspired by the short story by Mary Gaitskill. Currently in New York directing Nicole Kidman in Fur (adapted from Diane Arbus: A Biography by Patricia Bosworth [Knopf, 1984]), Shainberg is closing in on a deal for Giles Foden's Mimi and Toutou's BigAdventure: The BizarreBattle of Lake Tanganyika (Knopf, Apr.), a nonfiction account of the eccentric Royal Navy officer who inspired the Hepburn-Bogart classic The African Queen. Shainberg's company Vox 3 will produce. AP Watt's Nick Harris and CAA's Rich Green represent Foden.