This week: A coming-out party for Gary Shteyngart; V.C. Andrews's legacy lives on.
To Russia with Irony
Did someone finally tell the film industry the Cold War is over? It took three years after publication, but Gary Shteyngart's The Russian Debutante's Handbook (Riverhead, 2002) is finally emigrating to Hollywood. Despite enthusiastic reviews and a stint on the New York Times bestseller list, Shteyngart's satirical debut novel about a 25-year-old Russian slacker in New York failed to ignite much enthusiasm among the film crowd. That all changed when Rabineau Wachter Sanford's Geoff Sanford and Brooke Ehrlich resubmitted the book to a few producers with a one-page treatment written by the author outlining his vision for the film. This Is That, the production company founded by Good Machine alums Ted Hope, Anne Carey and Anthony Bregman, apparently liked what they read enough—a deal for film rights is imminent. The company has a solid track record with quirky material: credits include Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Thumbsucker, out now in theaters. Denise Shannon handles Shteyngart for lit.
Let It Rain!
Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the attic, there's a flurry of V.C. Andrews activity from Hollywood.... The Merv Griffin Entertainment co-production of Rain (Pocket, 2000) begins filming next month in Texas, ending an 18-year dry spell for the author, since 1987's Flowers in the Attic wilted at the box office. Rain follows a 19-year-old mixed-race girl who loses her mother and leaves the inner city to live with her wealthy white grandmother. Andrews is getting small-screen attention as well: L.A.—based production company The Hatchery is developing a series of titles for movie-of-the-week and direct-to-DVD projects (and possibly features) based on her books. Andrews died almost 20 years ago, but the franchise lives on courtesy of a ghostwriter selected by her estate. With all 57 titles (many penned after her death) still in print, Andrews's books have sold an enviable 105 million copies worldwide.