Mike Fleming’s Q&A With ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ Agent Valerie Hoskins, Broker Of 2012′s Biggest Book Rights Film Deal

Mike Fleming

50 Shades Of Grey MovieEXCLUSIVE: Just about every studio in town waged a concerted courtship for the movie rights to the E.L. James salty romance novel Fifty Shades Of Grey, and all but one today is feeling the sting of being jilted after the author and agent Valerie Hoskins went to the altar with Universal Pictures and Focus Features. Rumors raced all weekend that with 10 studios bidding, numbers passed $5 million upfront against a back end 5% or higher. Neither Universal nor Hoskins would divulge how much Universal co-chairman Donna Langley paid — when I broke the story this morning, I’d heard that it was a bit higher than the $3 million against 3.5% Sony paid for The Da Vinci Code, but many suitors figure it had to be around $4 million against as much as 5% of gross. If the picture sparks a trilogy, that is life-changing money for the former TV executive-turned-author. Since this was the wildest book auction in years and so many heavy hitters spent the weekend obsessing over it, I wanted to get the play-by-play from Hoskins, the British agent who, it turns out, is a real spitfire. I caught her just before she boarded a plane back across the pond with James, who left with a seven-figure publishing deal in one pocket, and a seven-figure movie rights deal in the other.

DEADLINE: Hollywood hasn’t seen a book rights auction like this since…
HOSKINS: It was not an auction.

DEADLINE: Generally, when a property is placed on the block for bids and sells, it’s considered an auction, no?
HOSKINS: My understanding of an auction is something that goes to the highest bidder. I can’t think of a better word for our process but it was not an auction.

DEADLINE: Does that mean you left bigger offers on the table?
HOSKINS: No comment.

DEADLINE: During this auction, the book was characterized in a number of ways that included ‘Mommy Porn.’ What would you call it?
HOSKINS: It’s a love story. People fall in love and they rabidly have sex, because that’s what you do when you fall in love. You do, you do! It’s a love story,  a romantic one. I don’t really like the phrase ‘Mommy Porn.’ I guess I don’t mind it that much, but I don’t like it. Read More »

Comments 44

No Problem, We’ll Come To You! ‘50 Shades Of Grey’ Has Hollywood Carpooling

By | Thursday March 22, 2012 @ 4:22pm PDT
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With Foreplay Almost Over, Will Steamy Novel ’50 Shades Of Grey’ Climax In 7-Figure Deal?

50 Shades Of Grey E.L. JamesThe stampede of studios, monied production companies and producers that want to get a piece of 50 Shades of GreyRead More »

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With Foreplay Almost Over, Will Steamy Novel ’50 Shades Of Grey’ Climax In 7-Figure Movie Deal?

By | Tuesday March 20, 2012 @ 1:53pm PDT
Mike Fleming

By Thursday, author E.L. James and her British lit agent Valerie Hoskins will have completed a surreal round of meetings with the heads of studios, monied production companies and top producers for screen rights to 50 Shades of Grey. The … Read More »

Comments 71