Forget the dopey (and easily excised) subplot in which journalist Cannie Shapiro, Jennifer Weiner's plus-size heroine, becomes instant best friends with Hollywood star Maxi Ryder (Minnie Driver?) after a chance encounter in a hotel lobby restroom. Good in Bed, Weiner's debut novel (Atria, 2001) is a funny, moving and ultimately universal story about healing and accepting yourself for who you are. When Cannie discovers that her ex-boyfriend has spilled the details of their relationship in a national women's magazine (with the horrifying title "Loving a Larger Woman"), she's propelled on a life-altering ride involving her estranged father, single motherhood and Mr. (or more properly, Dr.) Right. Despite being a New York Times bestseller, the book didn't spark much interest in Hollywood initially, in no small part because the number of young, full-sized bankable actresses who can open a movie is... zero. (Until recently, HBO had the book in development for a series, but the option recently lapsed.) This fall, however, Weiner's book just may get the second look from studios it deserves: the $37-million adaptation of the author's 2003 novel In Her Shoes, starring Cameron Diaz, Toni Collette and Shirley MacLaine and directed by Oscar-winner Curtis Hanson, comes out this October (see Hollywood Reader, June 13). Contact: Jake Weiner/ Benderspink Management.
Everyone who reads this quietly creepy short story from Paul Griner's collection of the same name, Follow Me (Random House, 1996), loves it. No one, unfortunately, seems to quite know what to do with it. In and out of option three times—both Miramax and Disney have held it at different times—the nine-page story offers a tantalizing setup for a thriller and a provocative female lead. (Nicole Kidman comes immediately to mind.) Griner's story follows a chilly downtown artist who gains fame with a series of photography exhibits that recklessly destroy the lives of her male subjects. She gets her comeuppance when, forced to outdo herself for her next exhibit, she hires a private detective to follow her and photograph her when she's unaware. The photos become increasingly intrusive, and her world collapses when she discovers that her pursuer knows her far better—and longer—than she had thought. (Interesting note: Griner's character is inspired by real-life artist Sophie Calle, whom Paul Auster also used as inspiration for a minor character in his novel Leviathan.) Rabineau Wachter & Sanford rep Griner.
Why no one ever optioned Daniel Hecht's nifty psychological horror novel, Skull Session (Viking, 1998/ Bloomsbury, 2005), a bestseller in the U.K. and elsewhere, is an utter mystery. If incest, murder, vanishing teens and a baronial estate harboring buried family secrets aren't enough for you, how about an opportunity for an actor to chew up the screen with the one affliction we haven't seen in a lead role yet—Tourette's? In Hecht's hands, it's a lot more complicated—and interesting—than a few random #@$&*s. An intelligent, atmospheric suspense story with enough jolts (hint: don't get too attached to a certain upholder of the law) to attract the next Danny Boyle or Jonathan Glazer. Sally Willcox handles Hecht for film.