Here’s a novel concept: NBCUniversal Television Consumer Products Group and Hyperion Books are teaming to publish Pawnee: The Greatest Town In America, a book “written” by Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. Pawnee, Ind., is the setting for the series, which centers on Knope, a deputy director in the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. The book, penned by the series’ writing staff, will be published Oct. 4, a couple of weeks after the Primetime Emmy Awards are handed out; the series is expected to garner some Emmy attention when nominations are revealed July 14 (Poehler received an Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy nom in 2010). “The ever-expanding town of Pawnee has become its own character in our show, and we’re thrilled that we got to accelerate that expansion in one giant, goofy 240-page comedy book,” said Mike Schur, co-creator and executive producer of the series. “It’s a complete portrait of Everytown, USA, which every reader — whether a fan of the show or a newbie — can enjoy.”
EXCLUSIVE: Summit Entertainment has acquired world rights to The Night Circus, a first novel by Erin Morgenstern that will be published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in September. The book is the story of two young prodigy illusionists in the 19th Century who are groomed to battle out their fathers’ …
Just last week, the literary agent for UK author Patrick Ness was in Los Angeles discussing film rights to his celebrated Chaos Walking children’s book trilogy. “The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say,” is the brilliant opening line of the first book The Knife Of Never Letting Go but Ness’ agent Michelle Kass tells me she has been deliberately holding off selling the rights, despite big Hollywood interest, until after Candlewick published the final book Monsters of Men in September. But Kass admits there are some problems with trying to turn Chaos Walking into the next Harry Potter. “First, the book takes place in a world where everybody can hear everybody else’s thoughts. Second, it has some very adult moments. But I think that the Chaos Walking books could be turned into an astounding film, and it’s not just a children’s film.” Her trip west couldn’t be better timed. It comes just as British Prime Minister David Cameron is exhorting the UK film industry to make more fantasy films based on bestselling British children’s authors, even going so far as to tell the House of Commons: “I think one of the keys to Warner’s success is the Harry Potter film franchise which they have been making. There is a great tip and key for filmmakers here. That is, we have got to make films people want to watch.”
Warner Bros in particular has been searching for another British kids fantasy franchise to replace Harry Potter now that it’s coming to an end. It needs to put something in its $161 million studio facility that will reopen in north London in mid-2012. The studio has just renewed its option on UK educator turned author Joseph Delaney’s children’s fantasy series, The Spook’s Apprentice, which has been in development since 2005 and is now called Seventh Son. Sergei Bodrov has been hired to direct, and Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures are co-financing. They’re co-producing with Lionel Wigram, executive producer of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and a new children’s author himself, and Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road (Clash Of The Titans). The book tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who is apprenticed to a forbidding wizard though I’m told the Warner Bros’ script now concentrates on the 2 teenage characters in the novel. Sounds like they’re making it more Harry Potter-ish.
Denis Leary goes Hollywood with the promo campaign for his new book, Suck on This Year: LYFAO@140 Characters or Less, a compilation of his tweets. Here is a look at the movie trailer-type ad for the book.
Universal Pictures has hired Robert Nelson Jacobs to adapt Sweep for Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Picture Show banner to produce with Alloy Entertainment. The Cate Tiernan young adult fantasy novel is about a 16-year old who learns she’s a blood witch, descended from an ancient, powerful line.
Agents tell me international publisher demand for celebrity biographies is dipping. But the reps and publishers I’ve spoken to are quietly confident business overall will be better at this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair which opens today – at least compared to the disastrous London market in April. Laura Morris, an independent agent who represents film author David Thomson, says, “There’s a feeling that things are getting better. Christmas books still do well. The interest in Jonathan Franzen’s new novel Freedom shows you can still make a big splash with books.” “Yes, the market does seem to be picking up, but quietly,” says literary agent Julian Friedmann of Blake Friedmann. But fewer people will travel to Frankfurt this year.
Guillermo del Toro is at The Grove in Los Angeles tonight for a few hours that began at 7 PM to sign copies of The Fall, the second installment of The Strain vampire trilogy novel that he wrote with Chuck Hogan (whose book Prince of Thieves was turned into The Town by Ben Affleck). Published last week, the book has already hit No. 8 on The New York Times bestseller list. That’s a slot higher on the list than his first book, The Strain. Tonight is one of the last signing sessions after Del Toro did stops in San Francisco, New York and Seattle. He said that while fans are most curious about his plans to direct an adaptation of HP Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness with James Cameron for Universal, many implore him to make one more installment of Hellboy.
EXCLUSIVE: Halle Berry has committed to lead an ensemble cast in Shoe Addicts Anonymous, an adaptation of the bestselling St. Martin’s Press novel by Beth Harbison. Directing is Paul Weiland, the British helmer whose film credits include Made of Honour and …