Paul Miller and Dan Lindau with Crossroads Films ("Snow Angels" and "A Love Song for Bobby Long") option the rights to Jonathan Evison's "All About Lulu," a literary coming-of-age story about a scrawny kid from West L.A. who grows up in a family of bodybuilders and falls hopelessly in love with his stepsister.
Miller and Lindau are producing. Evison is represented on literary rights by Mollie Glick and on film rights by Jessica Regel, both with the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. The book will be published in July by Soft Skull Press, based in Brooklyn.
The back story
In a world of blockbuster book-to-film options, here's a deal that screams indie: An unknown Washington state novelist submits his quirky novel about people living in the shadow of the 405 Freeway to an alternative publishing house. When they show some interest, the author gets himself a serious literary agent. She sells the film option to an independent production company that has a history of making offbeat films ("Igby Goes Down") and the search begins for a quality director. "Maybe we could have sold the book to a big studio," Evison said. "But it probably would be collecting dust eight years from now."
Regel pitched Crossroads on the manuscript before she sent it to other producers, sensing it was a good fit, and the company snapped up the rights. "These days it's not easy to place coming-of-age stories in Hollywood, because people aren't exactly screaming for this kind of literary material," she said. "You don't want to sell an option just for the money and then not have the film made. You want to feel you've found a good home for a book."
Evison's novel got a starred review in Publishers Weekly, but Miller concedes he'll have his work cut out for him in adapting the material -- for example, the characters include bodybuilders who are identical twins. But Miller believes "All About Lulu" has the potential to be a memorable movie because of its unique voice. "We all know about the 'Junos' and the 'Little Miss Sunshines,' " Miller said. "And we're aiming for the same experience. We want to make a slice-of-life, comedic movie where people come away with something more than cotton candy."