Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. has tapped J. Mills Goodloe to adapt novelist Nicholas Sparks’ latest bestseller, The Best of Me. The studio acquired film rights to the book June of last year in advance of the book’s publication last October by Grand Central. Denise DiNovi is producing with Sparks and Theresa Park is  co-producer.

The studio bought The Best of Me last summer in a room where Sparks pitched his novel idea to Warner Bros. executives, even before putting pen to paper. The novel is about two former small-town high school sweethearts from opposite sides of the tracks. Now middle-aged, they’ve taken wildly divergent paths. Neither has forgotten their first love affair, and when they return to their hometown for a funeral, they meet and confront the past and a possible future. Goodloe is beginning his adaptation immediately.

The Best of Me is the latest Sparks book to embark to the big screen, after Dear John, The Last Song, The Notebook, and Nights in Rodanthe. Warner Bros is prepping The Lucky One, starring Zac Efron, which releases in April. Safe Haven is in pre-production with director Lasse Hallstrom for Relativity Media.

Goodloe adapted the Charles Martin’s novel The Mountain Between Us for 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment and the scribe recently sold a one-hour music-oriented drama to Fox 21 and Lifetime.

Goodloe is represented by UTA and Management 360.

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