This week in Page to Screen—PW's weekly column tracking film rights circulating and sold in Hollywood—a YA trilogy gets second-looks and Franzen's first fiction in five years starts chatter.
In a quiet week after the close of BEA Sunday, the one manuscript that all the scouts seem to be talking about is a children's trilogy called The Familiars by Adam Epstein and Andrew Jacobson. Howie Sanders at UTA is shopping the film rights and, although he confirmed he's been "getting a lot of calls," he's looking to get galleys into producers' hands before closing any deals. Barbara Lalicki at Harper Children's acquired the book over the weekend in a six-figure pre-empt from Markus Hoffman at Regal Literary. The first book follows three young wizard apprentices who, after being whisked away to an evil kingdom by a nefarious queen, must rely on their animal counterparts—aka an alley cat, blue jay and tree frog—in order to escape. Sanders said when people read the galley they'll "get a feel for how big this book can be."
We also hear rumblings that there's film interest in Jonathan Franzen's new work, based solely on the excerpt that appeared in this week's issue of the New Yorker. Said rumblings point to Scott Rudin, who acquired Franzen's sweeping look at a middle American family (and would-have-been Oprah pick) The Corrections—Rudin is serving as producer on that forthcoming adaption, which is slated for 2011. The excerpt, "Good Neighbors," is Franzen's first piece of fiction in five years and, presumably, part of a novel, though no manuscript has surfaced.