Octopus by Guy Lawson

VARIETY: ‘Better Call Saul’ Co-Creator Developing Wall Street Movie for HBO (EXCLUSIVE)

Peter Gould is on the trail of another story of Wall Street run amok for HBO.

The “Better Call Saul” co-creator/exec producer is in the early stages of developing a telepic for HBO based on Guy Lawson’s 2012 nonfiction book “Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market and Wall Street’s Wildest Con.”

The HBO Films project will revolve around a colorful cast of rogues and schemers who create an audacious hedge fund fraud and then go on a wild search for “the Octopus,” a secret and elite market that controls the world financial system. Gould is set to write and direct the telepic, as well as exec produce.

Gould previously wrote the 2011 HBO movie “Too Big to Fail,” adapted from Andrew Ross Sorkin’s book about key players in the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the onset of the 2008-09 global financial crisis. “Too Big to Fail” earned a bevy of award nominations for HBO. Gould won a Writers Guild Award for adapted longform screenplay.

Gould is in the midst of steering plans for season two of “Breaking Bad” prequel drama “Better Call Saul” with co-creator Vince Gilligan. “Saul” bowed earlier this month to strong reviews and ratings for AMC. Gould earned back-to-back drama series Emmy Awards in 2013 and 2014 as an exec producer of “Breaking Bad.”

Joe Millner, Gould’s rep at Larchmont Literary Agency, is on board to exec produce “Octopus.” Gould is also repped by CAA.

Happyish by Shalom Auslander

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: 'Happyish' will get its second series pickup.

Showtime president David Nevins used his platform at the Television Critics Association's winter press tour to renew dramedy Shameless for a sixth season and hand out a series order to redeveloped comedy Happyish.

EmmyRossum starrer Shameless, which returned Jan. 11, earned series highs in 2014 — averaging more than 5.7 million weekly viewers across multiple platforms. The John Wells dramedy from Warner Bros. Television also has finally received some awards love, with star William H. Macy earning Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations. Production on season six will resume later this year for a 12-episode run in 2015.

Happyish, meanwhile, was originally ordered to series with Philip Seymour Hoffman. The premium cable network re-piloted the series, tapping Steve Coogan to replace the late actor in the dark examination of the pursuit of happiness.

The comedy, co-starring Kathryn Hahn and Bradley Whitford, will be rushed onto the schedule, with Showtime announcing a a 9:30 p.m. April 26 premiere date, where it will be paired with the seventh and final season bow of NurseJackie.

Happyish was created, written and executive produced by This American Life's Shalom Auslander. Emmy nominee Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You) executive produces and directed the pilot. Kwapis' producing partner Alexandra Beattie co-executive produces via their In Cahoots banner.

"It feels like a next way to do a cable comedy; it's absorbing and not too cool and real emotion," Nevins told reporters. "It's been frustrating that I haven't launched more comedies. This show has been a particular area of focus."

Coogan stars as a 44-year-old man whose world is thrown into disarray when his 25-year-old “wunderkind” boss arrives, saying things like “digital,” “social” and “viral.”  Is he in need of a “rebranding,” or does he just have a “low joy ceiling?”  Maybe pursuing happiness is a fool’s errand? Maybe, after 44 years on this ludicrous planet, settling for happyish is the best one can expect.

Happyish joins a roster of Showtime originals, including Golden Globe winner The AffairHomelandMasters of SexPenny Dreadful and Ray Donovan as well as comedies ShamelessHouse of Lies,Jackie and Web Therapy. Following his session, Nevins told reporters that he also expects "good news" for Episodes and House of Lies, which typically are renewed alongside Shameless. The latter earned the pickup after Showtime negotiated a new deal with WBTV, with all the series regulars having the option to return pending the events of season five.

On the pilot front, Showtime has drama Billions as well as comedies Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Cameron Crowe's Roadies.

No Limit by Kevin Poulsen

VARIETY: Jonah Hill, ‘D Train’ Filmmakers to Adapt Vegas Hacker Story (EXCLUSIVE)

Hot off their Sundance Film Festival premiere, “The D Train” directors Andrew Mogel and Jarrad Paul are rolling on to their next bigscreen project, this time with Jonah Hill.

Mogel and Paul tell Variety they plan to adapt the Wired magazine article “Finding a Vegas Poker Bug Made These Guys Rich — Then Vegas Made Them Pay,” to which they recently bought the rights as a potential directing vehicle.

Hill is exec producing the film through his 75 Year Plan banner. Mogel and Paul will also produce.

Written by Kevin Poulsen, the Wired magazine article was first published in October, 2014 and tells the story of two hackers who found a glitch in video poker machines before amassing nearly $1 million in cash. They were eventually arrested in 2009.

The two men, Andre Nestor and John Kane, weren’t technically cheating at the casinos, says Mogel, “It was a sequence of buttons they would use to cash out, like an ATM.”

“It’s a really great story,” Paul added.

Mogel and Paul recently worked with Hill on Fox’s animated series “Allen Gregory.” Their directorial debut, “The D Train,” starring Jack Black, was acquired by IFC Films following its Sundance premiere.

The filmmaking duo previously wrote “Yes Man” and are attached to another Jim Carrey comedy, the untitled “Bruce Almighty” sequel. They’re repped by UTA, Mosaic and Ziffren Brittenham.

Hill, whose film “True Story” also premiered at Sundance this year, is currently shooting the Coen brothers’ “Hail Caesar!” opposite George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson and Channing Tatum.

He is repped by WME, LBI and Karl Austen.

Arms and the Dudes by Guy Lawson

DEADLINE: Hollywood Warner Bros Has Jesse Eisenberg, Shia LaBeouf In Crosshairs For ‘Arms & The Dudes’

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros and Todd Phillips are starting to get serious about Arms & The Dudes, the film about two stoners who become arms dealers. Talks are about to get underway with Jesse Eisenberg and Shia LaBeouf to star in a film that Phillips will direct about the two unlikeliest arms dealers who got a $300 million contract to supply weapons for its allies in Afghanistan. They soon found themselves in danger abroad and in trouble back home because they were completely out of their depth. The pic is based on a Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson and Phillips has been working on it for years under his Green Hat banner; it becomes the first major project since he joined forces with Bradley Cooper. Mark Gordon is also producing and Bryan Zuriff is exec producer. Jason Smilovic is writing the script with Phillips. Gordon got this party started, finding the article and joining forces with The Hangover director to turn it into a film.

Eisenberg stars as Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman at Warner Bros, and wrapped American Ultra. He’s repped by CAA and so is LaBeouf, who most recently was seen in the Lars Von Trier-directed Nymphomaniac double feature, and Charlie Countryman. He’s managed by John Crosby. Jesse Ehrman and Jon Gonda are overseeing the project for the studio.

Freeheld by Cynthia Wade

DEADLINE: Steve Carell Reunites With Julianne Moore In ‘Freeheld’

EXCLUSIVE: Steve Carell is replacing Zach Galifianakis in Freeheld, the Peter Sollett-directed film based on the 2007 documentary about Laurel Hester and Stacie Andree. They fought to amend the Domestic Partnership Act, which grants pension benefits to domestic partners of all New Jersey public employees. The film stars Julianne Moore and Ellen Page. It’s produced by Page, Kelly Bush, Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, James D. Stern, Richard Fischoff, Duncan Montgomery, Jack Selby, Duncan Montgomery, and Cynthia Wade. Ron Nyswaner wrote the script.

Galifianakis has dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Carell will play the supporting role of Steven Goldstein, a passionate advocate for Garden State Equality. Carell, who starred with Moore in Crazy, Stupid, Love, found a spot of availability in his schedule between the time he’ll spend promoting his starring roles in Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day and the Bennett Miller-directed Foxcatcher. The latter film , which also stars Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, has had awards buzz all over it since premiering in Cannes. Carell is repped by WME and Steve Sauer at Media Four Management.

An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

Deadline: Daily Astronaut Family Comedy Lands At ABC With Pilot Production Commitment by Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In a very competitive situation, ABC has landed An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth, a multi-camera comedy from Surviving Jack creators Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker with a pilot production commitment. The project, from Warner Bros TV — where the duo is under an overall deal — and 3 Arts Entertainment, is based on the memoir by Col. Chris Hadfield, a seasoned Canadian astronaut who became an Internet star with his videos from the International Space Station. (Watch one below.) The TV series is described as a family comedy about an astronaut who is back from space and finds that re-entering domestic life might be the hardest mission he’s ever faced. Halpern and Schumacker will write the script and executive produce with 3 Arts’ Erwin Stoff and Tom Lassally. Hadfield will serve as a consulting producer.

This is the third time Halpern and Schumacker, repped by ICM Partners, will be adapting a memoir into TV comedy series. Both of their previous efforts, CBS’ S#*! My Dad Says and Surviving Jack, were based on books by Halpern, and both went to series on CBS and Fox, respectively. Here is the trailer for Hadfield’s book, one of several An Astronaut’s Guide comedic videos by Hadfield.


Television Rights to NYT bestselling author Chris Hadfield's AN ASTRONAUT'S GUIDE TO LIFE ON EARTH, to ABC, from Warner Bros. TV, with 3 Arts Entertainment (PARKS AND RECREATION, SILICON VALLEY) producing and Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker (SURVIVING JACK) writing, by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Rick Broadhead of Rick Broadhead & Associates.

Soul Catcher by Frank Herbert

DEADLINE: Producer Options ‘Soul Catcher’ By ‘Dune’ Author Frank Herbert

EXCLUSIVE: Four decades after Dune scribe Frank Herbert published his acclaimed 1972 novel Soul Catcher, the book has been optioned for the big screen by producer Dimitri Villard. The Flight Of he Navigator and Once Bitten producer first pursued the Herbert tome during the 1980s but tabled his film career to run music company ArtistDirect until last year. Now he’s returning to the screen biz with Soul Catcher, about a militant Native American student who kidnaps the 13-year-old white son of a U.S. politician, intending to sacrifice the child for vengeance against wrongs committed against his people. As the captor and the captive flee from hunters across the Pacific Northwest, they form a bond that throws the planned act into question.

The late Herbert’s seminal Dune remains the best-selling science fiction of all time and was adapted into a 1984 feature film by David Lynch and a TV miniseries and sequel in the 2000s. It’s also the only property of his to get a feature film treatment, though he penned dozens more novels and short stories before his death in 1986. Soul Catcher is a rare mainstream Herbert novel but shares many of the author’s signature themes in its intersection of ecology, politics, and Native American religious beliefs.

“The book is an extraordinary example of Frank Herbert’s brilliant writing, and it is something I’ve always wanted to turn into a film,” said Villard. “I remember the rights being unavailable when I first pursued the Soul Catcher project in the ’80s, but as my producing career developed I never forgot the powerful effect the story had on me. Now, with full support from the Frank Herbert estate, we have the opportunity to make a culturally impactful film that combines elements of suspense, high drama, mysticism and Native American history that will resonate for years to come and appeal to the millions of Frank Herbert fans worldwide.”

Villard negotiated for a year with the Herbert estate and next is looking to attach a director whose vision can steer the character-driven piece. He’s also brought on Rene Haynes (Dances With Wolves, Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee, Squanto, Crazy Horse, Buffalo Soldiers), who specializes in Native American and First Nations castings and cast the Quileute/Wolfpack characters in Summit’s Twilight franchise. Greg Bernstein negotiated the deal on behalf of Villard with Jody Hotchkiss repping the Herbert estate.


Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway

HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Robert Kenner's doc 'Merchants of Doubt' Goes to Sony Pictures Classics

The film about pundits-for-hire will be released by the end of the year.

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired worldwide rights to Robert Kenner’s documentary Merchants of Doubt from Participant Media and Omidyar Network, and plans to release it by the end of the year.

Inspired by the book of the same name by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, the doc takes a look at pundits-for-hire who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak about topics like toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals and climate change.

Kenner, who also produced and directed the 2008 doc Food, Inc., produced the new film with Melissa Robledo and executive producers Jeff Skoll and Diane Weyermann of Participant Media and Pierre Omidyar of Omidyar Network. It was co-produced by Brian PearleTaki OldhamDylan Nelson and Youtchi von Lintel.

"I was thrilled that Participant Media and The Omidyar Network were ready to back a comedy about science denial and that Sony Pictures Classics will be taking this film out into the world,” Kenner said. “With Merchants of Doubt, I saw a chance to show audiences a world they hadn’t seen before—a chance to lift the curtain and expose how these messages are crafted and sold to the public."

"Merchants of Doubt is that rare triple threat: well made, entertaining and destined to immediately become part of this volatile cultural debate.  We look forward to bringing this outstanding film to the world,” added Sony Pictures Classics.

Jeff Ivers negotiated the deal for the film on behalf of Participant Media with Sony Pictures Classics.

The Wonder of All Things by Jason Mott

DEADLINE: Lionsgate Buys Jason Mott Novel ‘The Wonder Of All Things’

Lionsgate has acquired screen rights to The Wonder Of All Things, the sophomore novel by Jason Mott, whose debut The Returned is the basis for the ABC seriesResurrection. David Heyman’s Heyday Films will produce with John Fischer and Jeffrey Clifford.

The logline: When a pilot loses control of his plane during an air show and crashes into the stands, two 13-year-old best friends, Wash and Ava, are trapped beneath the rubble. They are found by rescuers, but Wash is seriously injured, a chunk of steel protruding from his belly. Ava tries to help him by pulling free the metal, but blood rushes out; he’s dying. She panics and puts her hands on the wound, crying. When she pulls her hands away, the wound is gone, healed without a scar. Rescuers captured the miracle on their cell phone cameras. It goes up on YouTube, and she becomes the center of attention from media, scientists, and religious leaders. Like Phenomenon and The Green Mile, the film will be a collision between real-world reaction and supernatural events that are not easily explained. Lionsgate’s Jeyun Choi and Erik Feig reeled in the book in a deal brokered by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss And Associates on behalf of Michelle Brower at Folio Literary Management.

Down a Dark Hall by Lois Duncan

DEADLINE:  Lionsgate Acquires ‘Down A Dark Hall’ From ‘Twilight’ Producers & Temple Hill

Lionsgate has acquired rights to Down A Dark Hall based on the 1974 YA bestseller from Lois Duncan (I Know What You Did Last Summer) with Rodrigo Cortés attached to direct. Screenwriter Michael Goldbach wrote the original adaptation for the screen, and Chris Sparling (Sea of Trees, Buried) has come aboard to also write on the film.Twilight author Stephenie Meyer and Meghan Hibbett will produce via their Fickle Fish Films along with Temple Hill Entertainment’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen. Meyer optioned the book last year and brought on Goldbach to write the adaptation.

The supernatural suspense novel follows Kit Gordy, the newest student at the exclusive Blackwood Boarding School. It is the opportunity of a lifetime, but Kit quickly realizes something strange is happening behind its walls as she confronts the darkly seductive powers of Blackwood’s headmistress and comes face to face with the supernatural powers that could make her great or destroy her.

Fickle Fish Films recently produced The Host, an adaptation of Meyer’s novel starring Saoirse Ronan, Diane Kruger, Jake Abel, Max Irons and William Hurt, directed by Andrew Niccol, which released March 2013 from Open Road Films as well as the film adaptation of the NY Times best-selling author Shannon Hale’sAustenland, directed by Jerusha Hess and starring Keri Russell, Bret McKenzie, Jennifer Coolidge, JJ Feild and Jane Seymour. Meyer previously produced both parts of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn which were distributed by Lionsgate’s Summit Entertainment label. The five films of The Twilight Saga grossed more than $3.3 billion at the worldwide box office.

Temple Hill Entertainment most recently produced Fox’s mega box office hit The Fault In Our Stars, starring Shailene Woodley and based on the John Green bestseller. Temple Hill also produced the Twilight Saga film series. Other credits include Dear John, Safe Haven, Everything Must Go and The Nativity Story.

Erik Feig, Co-President of Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, Gillian Bohrer, Lionsgate’s EVP of Production & Development, and James Myers, Creative Executive at Lionsgate, are overseeing the project on behalf of the studio. Robert Melnik, Lionsgate’s Executive Vice President of Business Affairs, negotiated the deal on behalf of the studio.

Fickle Fish, Temple Hill, Sparling, Goldbach and Cortés are represented by UTA. The book was represented by Jody Hotchkiss & Associates.


Dinotrux by Chris Gall

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Netflix Preps 'Dinotrux' Kids Series from DreamWorks Animation

The dinosaur series, based on Chris Gall's award-winning book series, will roll out in the spring of 2015.

Netflix is bulking up on its kids offerings.

The streaming service is set to launch a new original series, Dinotrux, in the spring of 2015. The kids entry, based on Chris Gall's award-winning book series, will feature hybrid dinosaur-construction characters who are set to build and battle over three seasons. It marks the latest from DreamWorks Animation, which inked a landmark deal with Netflix for 300 hours of programming inspired by DWA characters in early 2013.

Dinotrux will follow the adventures of two unlikely best friends as they navigate the mechanical domain ruled by creatures including Tyrannosaurus Trux, Scraptors and Tow-a-constrictors. The series will join DreamWorks' Turbo Fast, which launched in 2013, as well as forthcoming efforts King Julien, Puss in Boots, Veggie Tales in the House and DreamWorks Dragons.

"This is a property that creates a new world with stunning visuals and fantastic action combined with great characters and comedy. In Dinotrux, the biggest guy and the smallest creature become best friends and through their unique partnership evolve their primitive world—a theme that we think will resonate with kids," said Margie Cohn, TV head at DreamWorks Animation in a statement announcing the news Friday.

Added Netflix originals vp Cindy Holland: "DreamWorks has a proven track record of creating beloved characters, and we're excited to be able to bring the Dinotrux friends to our members. We know kids and families love discovering new series to watch together and we're pleased to continue to expand our show line-up from DreamWorks."

Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsky

Television rights to Jacob Tomsky's HEADS IN BEDS, about a life spent (and misspent) in the hotel industry, to Warner Bros. Television with 3 Arts Entertainment (PARKS AND RECREATION, LOUIE, SILICON VALLEY) producing, by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Farley Chase at Chase Literary Agency.

Freeheld by Cynthia Wade

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Julianne Moore, Zach Galifianakis to Star in Drama 'Freeheld' (Exclusive)

The pair join Ellen Page in the Peter Sollett-helmed film based on the 2007 Oscar-winning documentary short of the same name.

Julianne Moore is attached to star opposite Ellen Page in the indie drama Freeheld, and Zach Galifianakis is poised to tackle a supporting role in the indie drama.

Based on the 2007 Academy Award-winning documentary short of the same name, the film chronicles the true story of the late Laurel Hester (Moore), a New Jersey police detective whose world was shattered when she became terminally ill and government officials prevented her from assigning her pension benefits to her domestic partner, Stacie Andree (Page).

Laurel's conservative detective partner Dane Wells was shocked when he learned of her sexual orientation, but he became the leader in the fight for the same-sex couple's rights. That role has yet to be cast.

Galifianakis is onboard to play Garden State Equality activist Steven Goldstein.

Peter Sollett (Raising Victor Vargas, Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist) will direct from a screenplay by Ron Nyswaner (Philadelphia, The Painted Veil). The filmmakers are eyeing a summer start date.

Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg are producing alongside Kelly Bush Novak of Vie Entertainment, Jim Stern of Endgame Entertainment, Jack Selby of Incognito Pictures and Cynthia Wade, who directed the 2007 documentary short.

Moore, who can next be seen opposite Liam Neeson in the action film Non-Stop and David Cronenberg's Maps to the Stars, is currently filming The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2. She is about to begin production on a big-screen adaptation of Lisa Genova's novel Still Alice. The actress also is attached to star opposite Greta Gerwig in the Rebecca Miller-helmed Maggie's Plan.

The Hangover's Galifianakis has two films in the can: Muppets Most Wanted and the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu comedy Birdman. He also is working on an FX pilot that he created and will star in that is being co-written by Louis C.K.

Moore and Galifianakis are repped by CAA. Moore is additionally handled by Management 360's Evelyn O'Neill. Galifianakis also is handled by Brillstein Entertainment and attorney Jared Levine. Sollett is repped by CAA, Oasis and Morris Yorn.

My Ex-Gay Friend by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

DEADLINE: Justin Kelly Teams With James Franco & Gus Van Sant For ‘Michael’

By Mike Fleming Jr.

Justin Kelly, a protege of Gus Van Sant, has set a summer start date for Michael, a film that Kelly will direct that will star James Franco. The pic is based on the Benoit Denizet-Lewis article “My Ex-Gay Friend,” published in The New York Times Magazine. While there have been some gay empowerment-themed films cropping up (Van Sant and Franco did Milktogether), this one takes the opposite track. Franco is playing the title character, a gay activist who, after enduring years of taunts and struggle, becomes an anti-gay Christian pastor. Kelly, who’s repped by Gotham Group and attorney Peter Nichols, wrote the script. Benoit is repped by Zachary, Shuster, Harmsworth and Hotchkiss & Associates.  Franco, Vince Jolivette, Scott Reed, Ron Singer and Joel Michaely will produce, while Van Sant is exec producer.

Fakebook by Dave Cicirelli

VARIETY: ‘Fakebook’ Movie Gets Real at Ineffable Pictures (EXCLUSIVE)

Cicirelli's book chronicles double life

By Dave McNary

Ineffable Pictures has logged on to “Fakebook: A True Story Based on Actual Lies,” picking up feature film rights to the recent non-fiction book by Dave Cicirelli.

Published by Sourcebooks this year, “Fakebook” is Cicirelli’s account of his mid-20s decision in 2009 to reinvent himself, posting a bogus note on Facebook announcing he is quitting his job, dropping everything and walking west. Only his parents and two close friends knew that the post was a hoax so a large portion of Cicirelli’s Facebook friends followed him as he began living a life of made up episodes, supported by photoshopped documentary evidence and accompanied by fictional girlfriend Amish Kate.

The memoir chronicles fake Facebook adventures and their impact on Cicirelli’s real life as he began to feel jealous of his fictional alter ego and faced the increasing difficulty of maintaining his charade of a double life — one in the real world and one in cyberspace.

Ineffable founder Raffi Kryszek said, “Aside from the amazing true story chronicled in “Fakebook,” we were especially intrigued by Cicirelli’s sharp cultural insight. This is the first book we’ve seen that honestly and—often hilariously—manages to deal with the increasingly pervasive impact social media has on our everyday relationships.”

Ineffable’s development slate of adaptations includes “The Repeat Year” by Andrea Lochen, “The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime” by Declan Hill and “Excuse Us While We Kiss The Sky” written by Matthew Power, which is being adapted into an action thriller by Ian Shorr.

Ineffable has also optioned Lisa Desrochers’ three book series “Personal Demons”; Colleen Houck’s “Tiger’s Curse,” which is being adapted by Julie Plec for Paramount; and Heather Swain’s forthcoming novel “The Last Apple” with Lane Shefter Bishop.

The deal for “Fakebook” was done by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Stephen Barr at Writers House.

If Kennedy Lived by Jeff Greenfield

Television rights to Jeff Greenfield's IF KENNEDY LIVED, an alternative history about what might have happened in the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam and others issues of the day, if Kennedy survived in Dallas and served two terms as president complete with revelations about his personal life, to Alcon Entertainment for Erwin Stoff (UNBROKEN, WATER FOR ELEPHANTS, THE BLIND SIDE) and Tom Lassally to produce, by Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Sterling Lord Literistic.

Enemies Within by Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman

CAPITAL NEW YORK: 20th Century Fox TV options book about clandestine NYPD counterterror operations

20th Century Fox Television has bought the rights to a forthcoming book by Associated Press reporters Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman about clandestine counterterrorism operations conducted by the New York City Police Department, Capital has learned.

The book, Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD's Secret Spying Unit and bin Laden's Final Plot Against America, is based on a series of articles the duo wrote for the Associated Press beginning two years ago.

Attached to the 20th Century Fox Television project are producers Erwin Stoff and Tom Lassally of 3 Arts Entertainment. Stoff was executive producer of The Devil's Advocate, The Matrix and, more recently, 47 Ronin.Lassally was executive producer of "American Candidate" (a TV series) and the forthcoming movie Edge of Tomorrow.

The book will hit shelves Sept. 3 and is published by Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. It will include reporting based on hundreds of secret NYPD documents that Apuzzo and Goldman obtained after winning the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting last year for their initial series of AP reports.

Which means that there is a lot more to come from these two.

"We used this new material to write the book," Goldman told Capital. "We’ll be making many of the documents public."

The book is sure to be controversial, as the original article series was. In particular, the News Corp-owned New York Post has been critical of the Associated Press' reporting on the NYPD. Though the Postand 20st Century Fox are now owned by separate companies, both are controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

Goldman declined to specify how much the book sold for but said "there were multiple offers." The deal was inked in September 2012.

New York magazine will publish an excerpt in its next issue, which lands on Monday.

"After 9/11, police commissioner Ray Kelly called on former senior CIA officer David Cohen, who along with then current CIA officer Larry Sanchez, created the city’s own CIA," reads a teaser circulated by the magazine's publicists this afternoon. "They believed that to catch the few, the NYPD would spy on many. Their Demographics Unit ended up a failure, both as a matter of police work, but more importantly, of the civil liberties of New Yorkers."


Screw Everyone by Ophira Eisenberg

VARIETY: NPR Host to ‘Screw Everyone’ With New Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

By Dave McNary

Ophira Eisenberg’s comic memoir “Screw Everyone: How I Slept My Way to Monogamy” is headed for the big screen with Zucker Prods. acquiring feature rights.

Eisenberg, host of the weekly National Public Radio and WNYC game show “Ask Me Another,” recounted more than a decade and a half of relationships in “Screw Everyone” with an attitude of saying “yes” to nearly everything before getting married. The tome starts in the seventh grade in Calgary, Canada, with her first boyfriend and first kiss.

“If we were talking about food, I’d be considered ‘adventurous,’ in wine circles, ‘unpretentious,’ and in dating terms, ‘a slut,’” she said in the introduction.

Janet Zucker told Variety that she’s started meeting with writers about the adaptation. She decided to seek the rights to “Screw Everyone” while reading the book during production of a TV version of Hallmark Channel’s “Dear Dumb Diary,” on which she’s an exec producer.

“Those are two pretty different projects but we tend to have a pretty eclectic slate,” she added, noting that recent Zucker Co. feature projects include romantic comedy “Friends with Benefits,” political thriller “Fair Game” and P.J. Hogan’s comedy-drama “Mental.”

“I think Ophira is really funny and her book says a lot about how women are dealing with relationships now,” Zucker added.

CyberStorm by Matthew Mather

Fox Acquires Self Published Sci-Fi Novel ‘CyberStorm’ For Chernin Entertainment


EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox has acquired CyberStorm, a self-published book by Matthew Mather that I’ve been told Chernin Entertainment will take on as producer. Described as a frighteningly realistic depiction of what would happen in the event of a global digital meltdown from an organized attack, the book follows a New York man and his family as they try and survive the crash isolated in Manhattan with millions of scared and confused people around him. The original e-book has caught on fast since it came out in March, and is now up there with the likes of the World War Z, Ender’s Game and Game Of Thrones e-books in Amazon sci-fi sales. It’s moving about 1500 copies a day. Mather, a cybersecurity expert and author who started out his career working at the McGill Center for Intelligent Machines, is now exploring a traditional print publishing deal after inking rights pacts for Turkey, Spain and Germany. The Fox deal was made by Sean Daily at Hotchkiss and Associates with Paul Lucas at Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

Fox finances Chernin Entertainment-released films and they are currently basking in the success of their most recent tie-up The Heat, the Melissa McCarthy-Sandra Bullock buddy comedy that opened June 28 to a cool $40 million. A sequel to that one is already in the works.

Devil in the Grove by Gilbert King

DEADLINE: Lionsgate Acquires Pulitzer Prize Winner ‘Devil In The Grove;’ Seminal Civil Rights Case For Thurgood Marshall


Lionsgate has acquired screen rights to Devil In The Grove: Thurgood Marshall, The Groveland Boys, And The Dawn Of A New America, the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Gilbert King about the effort of Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP’s legal team to save the lives of four black men falsely accused of raping a white woman in Florida in 1949. Adam Cooper & Bill Collage will write the script. Allison Shearmur is producing. The project is high priority at Lionsgate where production president Erik Feig and production and development director Jeyun Choi are overseeing it.

Devil In The Grove will yield a great role for a fortyish African-American actor to play the iconic Marshall, in a case fought to the Supreme Court before he made history with Brown Vs. Board of Education, which finally eliminated segregation in public schools. The scribes are also planning a strong role of Mabel Norris Reese, a journalist who covered the case. Initially outraged by the rape charges, she wrote honest stories as the evidence made it clear the “victim” had invented the allegations.

The film has overtones of To Kill A Mockingbird, in a story emblematic of the racism present in the Deep South during the time when Jim Crow labor laws made possible places like the segregated Groveland, Florida. Empowered by cheap labor, that town became a thriving citrus empire, with a racist sheriff ruling with an iron hand. In 1949, a quartet of young black men called The Groveland Four were accused of rape by a 17-year-old girl. The Klan tore through Groveland, sending black men fleeing to the swamps as they burned homes, determined to find the four and lynch them. One was shot down, and the others beaten badly into confessing. Despite the powderkeg atmosphere, Groveland became an establishing ground for Marshall, who despite the danger and his vital status in the growing civil rights movement, got heavily involved after one of his NAACP associates was murdered by the Klan. Even though the evidence was flimsy, one of the men was sentenced to life and the other two were given death sentences. Marshall fought that all the way to the Supreme Court. When a new trial was ordered, the sheriff, McCall, shot both of the men as they were being transported. He claimed the handcuffed men attacked him, but the lone survivor said he simply blasted away. The survivor was eventually exonerated.

The writers, whose Moses script Exodus will be the next film that Ridley Scott will direct with Christian Bale starring at Fox, found the book in manuscript form, and they couldn’t get a rise out of the town. Then, just as it was being relegated to the remainder pile, Devil In The Grove shockingly won the Pulitzer and the author’s film agent, Sean Daily at Hotchkiss And Associates (he sold it for lit agent Farley Chase) told the scribes that there was interest. Some 18 months after they first shopped the book, they went to town on it again. “In a way, Thurgood Marshall seems a rightful companion to Moses and George Washington [their script on him, called The General, has Darren Aronofsky attached], because Marshall really was a founding father of a new America,” Cooper said. They feel it is in good hands with Lionsgate and with Shearmur, who has been a strong influence on book adaptations like The Hunger Games. Cooper & Collage are repped by WME and Jeff Frankel.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Gilbert King's DEVIL IN THE GROVE, recounting Thurgood Marshall's heroic defense of four young black men accused of raping a white girl in 1949 Florida, to Lionsgate/Summit (THE HURT LOCKER, THE LINCOLN LAWYER) with Allison Shearmur Productions producing, by Sean Daily of Hotchkiss and Associates on behalf of Farley Chase at Chase Literary Agency.