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Martin Scorsese Eyes Film About Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton Love Affair

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures is finalizing a deal to develop a feature about the romance between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, as a directing vehicle for Martin Scorsese. The film will be produced by Julie Yorn, Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff of Krasnoff Foster Productions, and Scorsese through his Paramount-based Sikelia banner. They are assembling the resources to tell Hollywood’s most  famous star-crossed love story.

They’ve optioned Furious Love, the book by Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger that was published by HarperCollins last year. At the same time, the producers have a rights agreement with Burton’s estate, and a pledge of cooperation from his widow, Sally Hay Burton, to make his library available as a resource. The filmmakers have also reached out to the estate of Taylor with the same hopes. A screenwriter will be hired shortly.

I’m told that Paramount made the book deal as other parties pursued the book, with other suitors including Oscar-winning Black Swan star Natalie Portman and The King’s Speech Oscar-winning scribe David Seidler. All this for a book that got 100 passes when initially shopped for a movie deal by the author’s reps, Justin Manask and David Kuhn. Film interest in the book — for which Taylor made available many of the love letters Burton wrote to her over the years — grew when Taylor passed away in March and reports focused on the relationship between Taylor and Burton. Read More »

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20th Century Fox, Little Brown Spend Big For First Novel ‘The Five Hundred’

By | Monday March 7, 2011 @ 8:49am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Days after Little Brown closed a million dollar publishing deal on it last week, 20th Century Fox acquired screen rights to Matthew Quirk’s first novel The Five Hundred.  The movie deal was worth low-to-mid six figures against low seven figures, I’m told. The book is described as The Firm, set in politics.

The Five Hundred revolves around Mike Ford, a young man from the wrong side of the tracks who works his way through Harvard Law and is recruited by the most powerful PR/consulting firm in DC. He becomes the protege of of the firm’s founder, who has his hooks into the 500 most powerful people in politics. The protege soon feels that he’s sold his soul to his ruthless mentor. The book will be published by Reagan Arthur’s Little Brown imprint, in a two-book deal. They hope the protagonist will grow into a franchise character. Several screen suitors chased it before before Fox executives Peter Kang and Emma Watts closed the deal Friday. They’ve yet to assign a producer to The Five Hundred.

Quirk spent five years at The Atlantic, reporting on crime, private military contractors, terrorism and drugs. The deal was made by Justin Manask for lit rep Shawn Coyne of Genre Management.

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