MGM buys screen rights to ‘Vipers’

MGM has acquired the film rights to Brit rookie novelist Linda Davis’ upcoming book “Nest of Vipers,” the studio confirmed Friday.

Set in the world of international currency exchange, “Vipers” tells the story of a young female trader who is hired by British MI5 intelligence to go undercover in a firm suspected of laundering dirty green for the mob.

But when she gets inside the questionable investment bank, she realizes that her spook superiors didn’t tell her the whole truth. She must now get out alive and turn the tables on both sides.

“Vipers” is generally described as having some elements reminiscent of John Grisham’s “The Firm.”

And indeed, the work on Davis’ first manuscript — its tentative publishing date is next February — will be supervised by Grisham’s editor David Gernert at Bantam/Doubleday/Dell in New York.

A full year before printing, “Vipers” has already made a hefty advance sales sweep all over Europe.

The “Vipers” deal was negoti-ated between Davis’ London-based agent Toby Eady and MGM/UA’s creative affairs VP Judi Farkas and her story editor Elizabeth Finkelstein. Principals wouldn’t comment on the studio’s option price, except to say it was “a very healthy sum.”

The Gotham-based Farkas also secured the property “Domestic Life” for MGM during the tenure of former studio topper Alan Ladd, Jr.

With David Ladd as producer, “Life” is now set to go forward with Steven Spielberg exec producing and his sister, Anne, doing the screen adaptation.

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