This week: Women on the verge of a Hollywood breakthrough.
They say charity is its own reward, but Sarah Mlynowski will soon discover if selflessness carries other benefits as well. Producer Marc Platt (Legally Blonde; The Perfect Man) is pitching Mlynowski's "Know It All" to the studios with an unnamed screenwriter attached. Mlynowski's short story first appeared in the anthology Girls' Night In (Red Dress, 2004), a USA Today bestseller featuring contributions from chick lit's reigning superstars (Jennifer Weiner, Sophie Kinsella, etc.). A portion of the book's profits go to War Child, an organization that aids children affected by war. Film agent Lisa Callamaro calls the tale a "reverse romantic comedy" in the vein of My Best Friend's Wedding: when a young woman's roommate has psychic premonitions that her ex-boyfriend is about to meet a new woman, she uses the information to keep the two from ever meeting. "It's about letting go of an old love to find new love," says Callamaro. A film deal would cap an already happy month for Mlynowski: lit agent Laura Dail recently sold Spellbooks & Sleeping Bags, the third in her YA Bras & Broomsticks series, to Random House for a six-figure advance. Fox 2000 holds film rights.
Have a friend with a spouse you can't stand? The women in Jennifer Sturman's The Pact (Red Dress, Dec. 2004) share your pain. In Sturman's novel, five college friends vow to always rescue each other from toxic men. When one of the women is about to get hitched to a major cad, the groom turns up dead the day of the wedding. Has one of the women taken her loathing to a lethal level? Oxygen viewers will soon find out. Bill Contardi has just closed a deal with the cable network to develop the book as a movie-of-the-week. By day, Sturman works in the Strategy and Investment Group at Time Warner, although Red Dress will keep the Harvard M.B.A.'s weekends plenty busy—the Harlequin imprint has signed up Sturman's next three books. Laura Langlie represents Sturman for lit.
Where movies are concerned, that overworked cliché about sausages and politics applies: if you want to enjoy them, don't watch them being made. Films set inside the industry have historically had a tough time at the box office: Robert Altman's early '90s star-studded satire The Player, for example, grossed only $21 million while Spike Jonze's brilliant Adaptation (2002) took in an underwhelming $22 million. Fortunately, agent Laura Langlie says LeslieMargolis's The Accidental Confessions of a Cold-Blooded, Two-Timing Rat uses Hollywood strictly as a backdrop to explore larger issues of friendship, privilege and family a là HBO's hit series Entourage. The novel features a 17-year-old desperate to keep her studio executive father from finding out that she's the writer of a hot screenplay inspired by her own dysfunctional family. (Special meta bonus: Margolis's own father was a marketing bigwig at New Line from 1987 to 1999.) Simon Pulse's Bethany Buck acquired the book based on a 30-page partial for a spring 2007 pub date. Bill Contardi plans to wait for the completed manuscript before submitting for film.