This week: Will Candace Bushnell's latest follow the fate of 4 Blondes ? The Kidd finds a director and... pssst... wanna buy a future bestseller... cheap?
The same week that Paris Hilton's PDA was leaked all over the Internet by a hacker, Candace Bushnell's film agent was busy shopping her latest novel, Lipstick Jungle(due from Hyperion this fall). Coincidence? Probably, but the timing seems somehow fitting. Bushnell, of course, is the Sex and the City scribe who built Manhattan's Manolo-Balthazar complex, one cosmo at a time. The three high-powered women in her latest novel—a film executive, a fashion designer and a magazine editor—could easily have stepped out of the ubiquitous Hilton's rolodex. In a highly unusual maneuver, ICM's Ron Bernstein bypassed producers and submitted the manuscript to most major studios directly. At the time of this writing, several had passed, but audiences haven't seen the last of Bushnell—her "Platinum," from 2000's novella collection, 4 Blondes (Atlantic Monthly Press), is in development at Universal.
Chip Kidd, the wunderkind graphic designer responsible for some of the industry's most striking book covers (Bret Easton Ellis's Glamorama, David Sedaris's Naked), has sold his satirical novel The Cheese Monkeys to L.A.- and Toronto-based 3Geez Productions. The novel, about two foundering art students in the 1950s who fall under the sway of an enigmatic graphic design professor, was published by Scribner in 2001. "Several film makers have approached me over the years to make The Cheese Monkeys," says Kidd, "and my main concern was always about whether or not they really got the material. [Director] Chris Grismerdefinitely does." Kidd is represented by ICM's Amanda Urban. Ron Bernstein did the film deal.
Briefs... Hollywood's wait-and-see attitude toward books may be costing it big bucks. Witness Elizabeth Kostova's blockbuster-in-waiting, The Historian, involving a daughter's quest to complete her father's research about Dracula. In publishing circles, Kostova's 656-page epic, due from Little, Brown, in June, is easily the most buzzed-about book of the season, if not the year: a $2-million advance secured by Amy Williams of Collins-McCormick; foreign rights sales in 22 countries; and a publisher with a talent for squeezing commercial numbers out of upmarket efforts (see Gladwell, Malcolm). A depth of research—not to mention the early hype—seals the inevitable Da Vinci comparisons. And yet, no film deal for Kostova.
Hard as it is to imagine, four short years ago, Dan Brown's agents couldn't give away the film rights to The Da Vinci Code. Hollywood had two shots at the book: first as a slipped partial and later as a complete manuscript. Deaf to the mounting excitement coming out of Doubleday, the book hit #1 on the New York Timesbestseller list before the town noticed. After The Da Vinci Code became a cultural phenomenon, the film rights eventually did sell, but they cost Sony Pictures $6 million. A more daring buyer willing to take a chance pre-pub could have walked away with rights for a good—what? $5,800,000, less? Something to think about.