Edgar Allan Poe's adolescence seems a prime and juicy candidate for fictional revisionism; at least that's Louis Bayard's take in his book The Pale Blue Eye (HarperCollins, June 2006). Much in the style of his 2003 novel Mr. Timothy, which imagined Dickens's Tiny Tim as an adult, the novel recasts the young Poe as a moody West Point cadet eager to help a retired detective discover who has been removing the hearts of classmates who were presumed to have committed suicide. A combination coming-of-age story and historical mystery, the 1830s tale, while not officially out for film deals, is generating talk—although industry insiders are quick to note the similarity to Matthew Pearl's The Poe Shadow, due from Random House in May 2006. Bayard is repped by Christopher Schelling at Ralph Vicinanza for lit.
Flying the "No-go" Zone
A complexly woven adventure set during the height of the Sudanese civil war, Philip Caputo's Acts of Faith (Knopf, May), introduces a bevy of disparate characters and tackles a number of political and ideological land mines—an ideal framework for an epic novel, but not necessarily for screenplay adaptation. Cherry Road Films, however, is eager to accept the challenge, beating out several other interested parties to option the title for six figures. Grounding the 688-page tome is naïve "mercenary with a conscience" Douglas Braithwaite, who founds charter airline Knight Air to fly relief shipments into U.N. "no-go" areas. The title sounds like it could be a match for a director like The Constant Gardener's Fernando Meirelles. APA Agency's Steve Fisher negotiated on behalf of Aaron Priest of the Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency.
What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas... or not. Hoping to shed more light on Sin City's cycle back into an adult-themed playground (from its repositioning as a Disney-style family retreat), resident of 30 years Jack Sheehan is adapting Skin City: Behind the Scenes of the Las Vegas Sex Industry (out next month from Harper Perennial) into a documentary. Originally released by Vegas publisher Stephens Press in May 2004, the title was immediately optioned by Think Digital, a Silicon Valley production studio, which commissioned the family man— author (with the help of "younger single male" reporters) to expand his book into a feature-length exploration of the city's seedier side. Sheehan has just wrapped up after 13 months of shooting and will soon begin whittling 100+ hours of footage down to feature length in time for the Cannes Film Festival next year.