EXCLUSIVE: FilmNation Entertainment has acquired from Jane Rosenthal the rights to the bestselling Ann Leary novel The Good House. They’re reuniting one of the great screen couples, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, and Michael Cunningham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours (Streep starred in the movie) is set to adapt the book.
The novel is darkly comic, and told through the eyes of Hildy Good (Streep), a New England realtor and not-so-recovering alcoholic whose perfectly compartmentalized life starts to come apart at the seams when she forms a new friendship with Rebecca McCallister. As Rebecca becomes the subject of town gossip, Hildy rekindles an old flame with Frank Getchell (De Niro), a tell it like it is Yankee, who tries to un-complicate her complicated life. Streep and De Niro starred together previously in 1978′s The Deer Hunter, 1984′s Falling In Love and 1996′s Marvin’s Room.
De Niro’s Tribeca Productions partner Rosenthal will produce with FilmNation’s Aaron Ryder and Karen Lunder. Tribeca veep Berry Welsh will be exec producer and FilmNation partner Steve Samuels helped bring the project together through a relationship with the author.
Said Rosenthal: “Ann Leary has an intoxicating voice and created a truly original character in Hildy Good. When I read the book, I was only sorry it ended – but so thrilled that we’ll be able to bring it to the screen with Meryl Streep as the irresistible Hildy. It’s the perfect project to work on with Michael Cunningham and we are excited to be doing this in partnership with FilmNation, as they were equally passionate about Ann’s characters.”
Streep, De Niro and Cunningham are repped by CAA. Leary is repped by Sylvie Rabineau. CAA will broker a domestic rights deal.
This is the latest indication of FilmNation’s diversification from sales company to a buyer spending money on development and production. Recent home grown productions include the Jeff Nichols-directed Mud, which premiered at Cannes. Upcoming projects include The Rules of Inheritance with Jennifer Lawrence.