| GOLDSMITH: Two new books for Dutton. |
Olivia Goldsmith, who seems to think film and book with equal fluency, is taking her act to Dutton/New American Library, in a seven-figure hard-soft deal for two books worked out with Laurie Chittenden at Dutton and Louise Burke at NAL. (Goldsmith has one more book, Young Wives, under her HarperCollins contract, which will come out next January.) According to her agent, Nick Ellison, the first of the two novels in Goldsmith's new deal was sold as a movie first, a $1.7 million outright buy by Alan Ladd at Paramount, with the author set to do the screenplay. Called Bad Boy School, it's described by Chittenden as a romantic comedy that's a "twist on Pygmalion," with a nice guy -- who's always being passed up by girls in favor of rotters -- being coached how to break female hearts the hard way by a platonic female friend who has her own romantic problems. This will probably appear early in 2001. The second book has also made a seven-figure movie sale, to Dreamworks, but no details are available yet on title or plot. Chittenden described Goldsmith as "very sharp and onto some big issues between men and women, with a lot of young followers." For his part, Ellison finds a "reinvigorated" Dutton/NAL an ideal spot for his author.
BIG STONE PREEMPT
| TRIGIANI: TV writer turns novelist. |
A first novel by someone hitherto known as a successful TV sitcom writer and documentary maker has been acquired by Random House associate editor Lee Boudreaux in a preemptive bid understood to be in six figures -- her biggest buy so far. It is Big Stone Gap by veteran TV writer Adriana Trigiani, which will be a lead title for Random next spring and will later be a Ballantine paperback. Set in a hamlet in the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is the story of the local spinster pharmacist and the many trials -- including two marriage proposals, the death of her mother and a highly temperamental village drama festival -- with which she has to cope in the course of one year. Among the shows on which Trigiani has worked are The Cosby Show and Growing Up Funny, and she is also a coproducer on Linc's, a new comedy on Showtime. Her agent on the deal, who may also have a movie option in the offing, is Suzanne Gluck at ICM.STAND-UP GUY
Jonathan Ames is an author and a stand-up comic whose career seems to be on the upswing. His agent, Rosalie Siegel, tells us that his novel The Extra Man, published by Scribner in hardcover and soon to be a Washington Square paperback, has been optioned by Killer Films, with Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler to produce and Isaac Mizrahi to direct, in a deal made in cooperation with Jim Crabbe at William Morris. Strong overseas sales have also been made in the U.K., Holland, Turkey and France (where Christian Bourgois took an interest after meeting Ames and seeing one of his routines at a recent literary forum in the unlikely setting of Club Med in Cancun, Mexico -- see News, May 17). Now Siegel has sold a nonfiction memoir that contains some of his stage material, titled Crack-Up: A Year in the Life of a Mildly Perverted Young Writer, to Doug Pepper at Crown for publication next spring. Incidentally, it is Siegel, not Philip Lief, who is the agent for Nancy Huston's French bestseller, Mark of the Angel, which was described in this column last week.
| COLTON: Life at an Indian high school. |
A girls' high school on a Crow Indian reservation in Montana, whose basketball team is going for the state championship, is the unusual setting -- and theme -- of the book Counting Coup by Portland, Ore., writing teacher Larry Colton, which Warner's Rick Wolff enthusiastically preempted last week. Colton, who spent a year living among his subjects, has come up with a saga of youngsters struggling against the odds of racism and alcoholism to create something positive in their lives. His agent, Richard Pine at Arthur Pine, said he was particularly struck by the broad enthusiasm shown at Warner, where no fewer than half a dozen people had read and admired the book. Colton's previous outing was the well-regarded Goat Brothers, published by Doubleday six years ago.
There are two unusual features about a deal just made with Vanity Fair contributing editor David Margolick by Carlo De Vito, associate publisher at Running Press in Philadelphia. One is the publisher, which d sn't often do books like Margolick's Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song, which is all about the history of that powerful protest song about Southern lynchings that was a Billie Holiday classic. De Vito read a magazine piece by Margolick last fall and persuaded the author to expand it into a book. The other offbeat aspect is that the deal was done between author and publisher without benefit of an agent.... A forthcoming Avon title, Cross Dressing by Bill Fitzhugh, has been sold by agent Jimmy Vines, working with Howard Sanders and Richard Green of United Talent Agency, to Universal for $1.25 million, with director Tom Shadyac (Liar, Liar) attached. The book, to be edited by Tom Dupree, is the story of a coldhearted ad exec who has to assume the identity of his dead brother, a priest.... Former Wall Street broker Scott Gilman has joined with business journalist Tim Harper on License to Steal, the story of how brokers often mislead clients to pad their commissions. HarperBusiness executive editor Dave Conti bought the book in a six-figure deal negotiated by Chris Crano of Authors Alliance.... We erred last week in attributing the discovery of Susan Isaacs to her longtime Harper editor, Larry Ashmead; they both took pains to remind me that she was in fact discovered in 1978 by Marcia Magill, then an editor at Times Books. Sorry, Marcia.