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Lionsgate Acquires North American, UK Distribution Rights To Nicholas Sparks’ Novel Adaptation ‘The Choice’

By | Tuesday June 10, 2014 @ 11:42am PDT
Mike Fleming

sparkyEXCLUSIVE: Lionsgate has acquired North American and UK distribution rights to The Choice, an adaptation of the 2007 Nicholas Sparks novel that has a script by Bryan Sipe, with Sparks, Theresa Park and Peter Safran producing. Production begins in the fall. The deal, which began percolating during the Cannes Film Festival market, is similar in construct to the deal that Paramount made for Story Of Your Life, and the $12 million deal The Weinstein Company made on The Lion. This is for less money, but Lionsgate basically has bought a fully developed film. It is the first time that Sparks has gone this route; he usually auctions his new fiction and gets millions in guaranteed fees. He wanted instead to incubate the project before shopping it, and take part as an investor in the film.

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The Choice tells the story of a long love affair that begins when Travis Parker and Gabby Holland first met as neighbors in a small coastal town and end up pursuing a relationship that neither could have foreseen. It spans a decade and traces the evolution of a love affair that is ultimately tested by life’s most defining events. Sparks’ The Best Of Me and The Longest Ride are currently in production. This is Lionsgate’s first project with the author, who with Park formed Nicholas Sparks Productions and recently acquired rights to make a movie on the life of Chicago Bears running back Gale Sayers. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Best Of Me’

By | Friday June 6, 2014 @ 1:50pm PDT

Paul Walker had planned to star in this Nicholas Sparks adaptation. James Marsden ended up playing the role opposite Michelle Monaghan as high school sweethearts who reunite in their hometown after 20 years apart. Will true love prevail? Michael Hoffman directed The Best Of Me, which he wrote with J. Mills Goodloe and Will Fetters. Luke Bracey, Liana Liberato, Caroline Goodall, Sebastian Arcelus, Jon Tenney and Gerald McRaney co-star in the romantic drama from Relativity Media and Di Novi Pictures that opens October 17. Here’s the teaser trailer, set to Jules Larson’s “Running Wild”:

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Alan Alda Joins ‘The Longest Ride’ At Fox 2000

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 4:52pm PDT
Mike Fleming

alanaldaHere’s a guy you never get tired of seeing. Fox 2000 has set Alan Alda to star in The Longest Ride, the George Tillman Jr-directed adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks bestselling novel. The Fault In Our Stars‘ Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen at Temple Hill are producing with Theresa Park.

Scripted by Craig Bolotin, Brad Desch, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, the story opens as a man snowbound and stuck in his car after a major crash on an isolated road. As he drifts in and out of consciousness awaiting rescue, the man sees visions of his life’s love, who died earlier. There is another romance between a young art history major and a handsome bull rider who fall in love despite coming from completely different backgrounds. Each has aspirations and dreams, and the cowboy is fighting the clock and should not be riding due to past injuries, but has a family ranch to save. A strange occurrence allows the two generations of lovers to save each other. Read More »

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Jack Huston To Star In Fox 2000′s ‘The Longest Ride’

By | Thursday May 29, 2014 @ 4:43pm PDT
Mike Fleming

jackhEXCLUSIVE: Boardwalk Empire’s Jack Huston has been set to star in The Longest Ride, Fox 2000′s adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks tale that will be directed by George Tillman and produced by Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen, Wyck Godfrey along with Theresa Park. Huston will play the young Ira in a tale that brings together two intertwining love stories. Pic has an April 3 release date.

Scripted by Craig Bolotin, Brad Desch, Scott Neustadter and Michael Weber, the story opens with a 90-year-old man snowbound and stuck in his car after a major crash on an isolated road. As he drifts in and out of consciousness awaiting rescue, the man sees visions of his life’s love, who died earlier. Together they reminisce about their life together, including his difficulty in returning from WWII and being unable to have children with her because of a war wound. They become renowned art collectors and the man has been lost since she died from a stroke. There is another romance between a young art history major and a handsome bull rider who fall in love despite coming from completely different backgrounds. Each has aspirations and dreams, and the cowboy is fighting the clock and should not be riding due to past injuries, but has a family ranch to save. A strange occurrence allows the two generations of lovers to save each other. Read More »

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Britt Robertson Boards Nicholas Sparks Romance ‘The Longest Ride’

By | Monday May 5, 2014 @ 3:41pm PDT

Britt Robertson Longest RideEXCLUSIVE: Britt Robertson is set for a lead role in Fox 2000′s Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Longest Ride. The Secret Circle, Under The Dome, and Life Unexpected actress will play Sophia Danko, the college student who falls for a young cowboy while elsewhere a 91-year-old man trapped in a crashed car reflects on the love of his life in Sparks’ dual-romance saga. Scott Eastwood was cast last week in the Luke Collins role opposite Robertson. George Tillman Jr. is directing the film from a script by Craig Bolotin (Black Rain, That Night) and the studio has already dated the pic for an April 2015 release.

Robertson is now filming Cake opposite Jennifer Aniston and is set to star in Disney’s Tomorrowland for Brad Bird, opposite George Clooney. Recent films include Sundance romance The First Time, DreamWorks’ Delivery Man, and indie Undiscovered Gyrl from writer-director Allison Burnett. Robertson is repped by Innovative Artists.

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Scott Eastwood Lands Lead In Nicholas Sparks Adaptation ‘The Longest Ride’

By | Wednesday April 30, 2014 @ 2:44pm PDT

Scott Eastwood Longest Ride SparksEXCLUSIVE: Scott Eastwood is set to star in Fox 2000‘s Nicholas Sparks adaptation The Longest Ride, which Notorious helmer George Tillman Jr. is directing. Published in 2013, the Sparks lit romance tracks a 91-year-old man trapped in a car crash who reflects on his life with his deceased wife as a young couple fall in love a few miles away. LongestRideIn his first major studio leading role, Eastwood will play Luke Collins, whose love affair with college senior Sophia Danko plays out as the youthful half of the romantic saga. Fox 2000 acquired rights in a bidding war last year and has already set an April 2015 release hoping to chase the success of big screen Sparks flicks like Safe Haven, Dear John, and the author’s 2004 hit adaptation The Notebook. Sparks is producing alongside Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, Theresa Park, and Robert Teitel. Read More »

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Gale Sayers-Brian Piccolo Relationship Hitting Big Screen Via Nicholas Sparks

By | Thursday March 13, 2014 @ 4:39pm PDT
Mike Fleming

bearsEXCLUSIVE: Nicholas Sparks and Theresa Park have acquired Gale Sayers‘ life rights and his memoirs I Am Third and Sayers: My Life And Times and have partnered with Michael Costigan to produce a feature film that focuses primarily on the friendship between the NFL Hall of Famer and teammate Brian Piccolo when both started out in the backfield of the Chicago Bears. Although Piccolo led the nation in rushing at Wake Forest in 1964, he was considered undersized and didn’t get drafted but made the Bears as a free agent. SayersLifeAndTimesSayers came out of the University of Kansas considered the most talented running back in the draft crop and the Bears made him a first-round draft pick. His career took off immediately and he scored 22 touchdowns as a rookie, while Piccolo struggled just to hang on.

In an atmosphere where white players and black players didn’t congregate much, the two slowly became friends and then roommates. When Sayers tore ligaments in his right knee in his third season, Piccolo coaxed him through a grueling rehab. When Piccolo became ill with cancer, Sayers stayed by his side until his death. Their friendship was memorably chronicled in the classic James Caan-Billy Dee Williams telepic Brian’s Song, and most guys my age still get misty just hearing the theme song. They aren’t remaking that pic, they will get an original script … Read More »

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James Marsden Offered Lead To Replace Paul Walker In Nicholas Sparks Novel Adaptation ‘The Best Of Me’

By | Thursday January 9, 2014 @ 3:00pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity and director Michael Hoffman have offered "Lee Daniels' The Butler" - Los Angeles PremiereJames Marsden the male lead role in The Best Of Me, an adaptation of the Nicholas Sparks bestseller that Paul Walker planned to star in. Marsden’s deal needs to be negotiated, but the offer was just made for him to star alongside Michelle Monaghan. Relativity had been quietly looking to recast since the tragedy that took Walker’s life late last year. This had boiled down to a short of Marsden and Magic Mike’s Joe Manganiello. While Universal put Fast & Furious 7 on extended hiatus to creatively find a way to finish the movie after Walker died in a crash Thanksgiving weekend halfway through the shoot, Walker had several good projects he was sparked to star in. Homeland‘s Rupert Friend is reportedly circling one of the others, Agent 47.

bestofBook is about two former high school sweethearts reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of the beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the sparks, but the forces that drove them apart back then still get in the way. J. Mills Goodloe, Will Fetters and Hoffman wrote the script. Denise DiNovi, Sparks and his producing partner Theresa Park are producing with Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh. Relativity president Tucker Tooley and Richard Middleton are executive producing. Read More »

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Relativity Sets Nicholas Sparks Adaptation ‘The Best Of Me’ For Fall 2014

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 3:41pm PDT

Relativity is straying from its Nicholas Sparks safety zone for its third adaptation of the author’s work. After scoring with a pair of successful Valentine’s week openings — and eventual grosses — for Safe Haven (2013) and Dear John (2010), Relativity will bow The Best Of Me on October 17, 2014. The second-chance tale of former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart will go up against Universal’s James Brown biopic Get On Up and Fox’s Romeo and Juliet-meets-Day of the Dead toon Book of Life that weekend. Best Of Me is directed by Michael Hoffman, who co-wrote the pic with J. Mills Goodloe and Will Fetters.

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Relativity Takes On Nicholas Sparks Novel ‘The Best Of Me’

By | Thursday July 25, 2013 @ 3:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Relativity has acquired from Warner Bros The Best of Me, a fully developed package that includes the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, and script by J. Mills Goodloe and Will Fetters. Michael Hoffman, who is rewriting the script with Fetters, is set to direct. It puts Relativity back in business with Sparks, whose Safe Haven was released in February and grossed over $96 million worldwide. Relativity also adapted the Sparks novel Dear John, which grossed over $114 million worldwide.

Hoffman, who helmed The Last Station and The Emperor’s Club, has been working on the project since not long after Warner Bros acquired it for a sum in the vicinity of $2 million against $5 million, which at the time was the going rate for a Sparks novel. Sparks’ frequent collaborator Denise DiNovi s producing with the author and his producing partner Theresa Park. Relativity CEO Ryan Kavanaugh joins them as producer.

It’s the second project that Relativity has acquired this week that was developed by another studio after Relativity signed on to distribute the family adventure film Echo from Disney.

Relativity production president Robbie Brenner said the company was eager to do more projects with the author. “Nicholas is one of the most creative and talented authors in the world and in The Best of Me he tells a deeply moving and unforgettable story. We look forward to working … Read More »

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Fox 2000 Acquiring Nicholas Sparks Novel ‘The Longest Ride’ For $5 Million

By | Thursday February 21, 2013 @ 7:44pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After spirited bidding from multiple studios, Fox 2000 is wrapping up a deal for The Longest Ride, the next novel by Safe Haven author Nicholas Sparks. I’m told the deal is worth $5 million upfront, which is consistent with what Sparks usually gets for his movie deals. Temple Hill’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce with Sparks and Theresa Park. They were the producers on Safe Haven. The book went out when A Safe Haven was released last weekend, and it came down in the end to Elizabeth Gabler’s Fox 2000, Warner Bros and Relativity Media. While my brain is squarely in Oscar mode, by my count this is far and away the biggest book deal this year and for that matter in quite awhile. Read More »

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Romantic Sparks Fly As Studios Woo Nicholas Sparks For ‘The Longest Ride’

By | Wednesday February 20, 2013 @ 11:41am PST
Mike Fleming

Hot book on the block today. The Longest Ride, the new novel by Nicholas Sparks, is in play today, and it will most assuredly mean a big seven-figure deal with several studios and producers/financiers lining up for the author’s latest romantic weeper. This comes days after the author of The Notebook, Message In A Bottle and A Walk to Remember and The Lucky One saw his most recent novel adaptation, Safe Haven, nearly beat out A Good Day To Die Hard in their respective opening weekends. I’m told that when UTA starts entertaining presentations by buyers, they will make it clear that the goal is to have the movie ready for Valentine’s Day 2015 release.

The book is divided into two intertwining love stories. It opens with a 90-year old man snowbound and stuck in his car after a major crash on an isolated road. As he drifts in and out of consciousness awaiting rescue, the man sees visions of his life love, who died earlier. Together they reminisce about their life together, including his difficulty in returning from WWII, and being unable to have children with her because of a war wound. They become renowned art collectors and the man has been lost since she died from a stroke. The other romance is between a young art history major and a handsome bull rider who fall … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Safe Haven’

By | Wednesday October 24, 2012 @ 4:07pm PDT

The latest from the Nicholas Sparks book-to-movie machine is Safe Haven, which stars Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel. She plays the woman with the mysterious past who arrives in a small town, he the widower who forces her to confront her dark past. Lasse Hallstrom directs. Relativity has set a Valentine’s week release for February 8, 2013.

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Warner Bros Romancing Director Michael Hoffman For Nicholas Sparks’ ‘Best Of Me’

By | Thursday September 27, 2012 @ 9:58am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Looks like Warner Bros is getting close to the altar on another romantic film based on a Nicholas Sparks bestseller. I’m told that Michael Hoffman is in talks to direct The Best Of Me, an adaptation of the Sparks bestseller. Will Fetters, who adapted the Sparks novel Lucky One, is being courted to do a rewrite. Denise DiNovi is producing with Sparks and Theresa Park is  co-producer. Hoffman most recently helmed the Gambit remake that stars Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Gambit’

Warner Bros originally hired J. Mills Goodloe to write the script, after it acquired the novel long before it was published by Grand Central. In fact, 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. Read More »

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TV Lit Agent Elise Henderson Leaves UTA To Run TV For Nicholas Sparks’ Company

By | Friday June 8, 2012 @ 11:38am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UTA TV literary agent Elise Henderson is leaving the agency for a job as head of the television division of Nicholas Sparks Productions. Sparks, who is a UTA client, and his publishing agent and creative partner Theresa Park launched the company in April with a two-year, first-look deal at Warner Horizon Television. Henderson will oversee all development of series and other TV projects based on Sparks’ novels. “We are absolutely thrilled by Elise’s decision to shepherd our brand-new television venture,” Sparks said. “Her energy, skills and wide-ranging industry relationships are already yielding incredible opportunities for NSP in the world of television.” Henderson joined the TV lit department of UTA in 2009. Before that she was a rising TV agent at William Morris Agency but was caught in the wave of layoffs following the WMA-Endeavor merger. “Elise will be a terrific steward of the Nicholas Sparks brand in television,” said Jay Sures, managing director of UTA, “She’s been a great part of the UTA team, and fortunately it won’t feel like she has traveled far.”

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Author Nicholas Sparks Starts Production Company, Signs Deal With Warner Horizon

By | Tuesday April 10, 2012 @ 3:42pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: In his first TV pact, bestselling author Nicholas Sparks has signed a two-year, first-look deal with Warner Horizon Television, the cable division of Warner Bros TV. Under the rich agreement, Sparks and his longtime publishing agent and creative collaborator Theresa Park will develop and executive produce series projects with an eye toward the cable marketplace “that will bring to television many of the core elements of my books and films: romantic love, family bonds, and the universal human dramas that move us all,” Sparks said. The projects, which won’t include shows written by Sparks himself, will be shepherded through Sparks’ newly-launched Nicholas Sparks Prods. Park has been named President of Production for NSP, which will develop and produce both feature film and TV projects. On the feature side, Sparks is producing through NSP Relativity’s Safe Haven, a Lasse Hallström-directed adaptation of his novel which is slated to begin production later this year. The Best of Me, also based on a bestselling Sparks novel, is in development at Warner Bros., with Sparks producing and Park co-producing. Those mark the eighth and ninth movie based on some of Sparks’ 16 published novels. The seventh one, The Lucky One starring Zac Efron, opens April 20. On the TV side, Sparks, repped by UTA and attorney Scott E. Schwimer, sold his first original TV project this development season, supernatural drama The Watchers, which landed at ABC.

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Warner Bros Sets J. Mills Goodloe To Adapt Nicholas Sparks Novel ‘The Best Of Me’

By | Thursday March 15, 2012 @ 11:15am PDT
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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Hot Trailer: ‘The Lucky One’

By | Thursday December 8, 2011 @ 11:25pm PST

Australian director Scott Hicks (Snow Falling On Cedars, Shine) tackles this romantic drama based a Nicholas Sparks novel, The Lucky One, about an Iraq war veteran who travels to North Carolina in search of the woman in a photo he thinks is a lucky charm that saved his life. Zac Efron, Taylor Schilling, Jay R. Ferguson and Blythe Danner star. Script was adapted by Will Fetters. From Warner Bros. Slated to open April 20.

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Author Nicholas Sparks Ventures Into TV With First Series Project That Goes To ABC

By | Tuesday September 20, 2011 @ 12:50pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: Nicholas Sparks is making his first foray into TV writing. The bestselling novelist, whose books have spawned several hit feature films, has sold an original story idea to ABC for a drama series that will be produced by ABC Studios and Twilight producer Temple Hill. The drama, titled The Watchers, tells the story of a fallen angel looking for his mortal love. Sparks teamed for the project with Temple Hill, which previously produced the film adaptation of Sparks’ novel Dear John and is now in pre-production on another Sparks feature adaptation, that of his 2010 novel Safe Haven. Sparks and Temple Hill then took the idea to ABC Studios, where Temple Hill has an overall deal. Kristin Hahn was brought in to co-write the script with Sparks and the pitch was taken to ABC, which bought it right away. Sparks is executive producing with Temple Hill’s Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey. Theresa Park, Sparks’ longtime publishing agent and president of his production company, is producing. Read More »

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