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Hot Deals: Hollywood and Vines
Judy Quinn -- 7/20/98
Working with co-agent Sally Willcox of CAA, agent Jimmy Vines has concluded a six-figure deal (worth up to $1 million if the film is made) with Working Title Films for Don Winslow's California Fire and Life, a thriller involving an arson investigation and the Russian Mafia in California, in advance of its May 1999 publication by Knopf. This book completes the high-six-figure, two-book deal Knopf president and editor-in-chief Sonny Mehta made with Winslow, who earlier published a mystery series with St. Martin's Press. Winslow's first book with Knopf, The Death and Life of Bobby Z, didn't make it to Times bestsellerdom as hoped, but did garner some $400,000 in foreign rights sales as well as a $750,000 outright film buy by Warner Bros., where it is currently set up with Lauren Shuler-Donner as producer and Richard Donner to direct. And at press time, Mehta had already committed to a yet-to-be-written Winslow novel in a one-book, mid-six-figure world rights deal.
Although he scored the book deal first, Vines positioned Sea Change, a Hot Zone-on-water thriller by oceanographer James Powlik as a perfect dramatic vehicle. The book concerns a toxic microorganism that grows into a lethal slick on the ocean surface, suffocating everything in its sight. Dell editor Jacob Hoye made the high-six-figure preemptive bid for two books; a summer 1999 publication is possible. Following the book sale, co-agent Ron Bernstein of the Gersh Agency concluded a deal for a four-hour TV miniseries with Columbia-Tristar and Chris/Rose Productions, which recently handled the Into Thin Air TV adaptation. The deal calls for a purchase price of over $600,000 if the miniseries gets made.
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