An Au Lait Touché

Starbucks has been much maligned of late, but Michael Gates Gillhas only good things to say. In How Starbucks Saved My Life, a 102-page book proposal that made the rounds last week, the former ad exec credits the coffee behemoth for hiring him and teaching him to stop and smell the lattes, after being downsized from his ad job and deserted by his family. Intrigued by the feature film possibilities (Think: In Good Company 2), Universal preemptively optioned the title (to be published by Gotham Books) for über-everyman Tom Hanks and director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) in a six-figure deal. Hanks and Gary Goetzman (The Polar Express) will produce through their Playtone shingle. Gill is repped by Gillian Mackenzie for lit and CAA's Shari Smiley for film.

London Confidential

The adaptee has become the adaptor. In a change of pace, novelist James Ellroy (The Black Dahlia) will be shaping another author's work—Nicci French's thriller Land of the Living(Warner, 2003)—for New Line Cinema. The tale (by writing team Sean French and Nicci Gerard) traces the attempts of Abbie Devereaux, a 25-year-old Londoner who was kidnapped and abused, to convince her friends and the police of what happened to her. With Ellroy attached, the film will likely be better received than MGM's 2002 take on French's Killing Me Softly.Alexandra Milchan, who brought the book to Ellroy's attention, will be producing. The near-seven-figure deal for both the rights and Ellroy's screenwriting fees were negotiated by IPG's Joel Gotler.

Hung Up on Hookups

Though the distributor of Sin City and the Scream trilogy isn't the first studio that comes to mind for romantic comedy, Dimension (the Weinstein Company's genre arm) has optioned the rights to Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler's anti-Rules dating guide The Hookup Handbook (Simon Spotlight, 2005). Alyssa Embree, Jessica Koosed and Stacey Harman (all currently at work on the film Jingle Belle for Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions) have been tapped to adapt. The proposed story will revolve around three young women who forsake traditional relationships in lieu of (surprise!) casual hookups. The deal was negotiated by EllenGoldsmith-Vein at Gotham Group.