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Beacon finally snares ‘Men’

After nearly a year of negotiations, Beacon Pictures has optioned the rights to Brit mystery doyenne P.D. James’ sci-fi novel “The Children of Men” for a mid-six-figure price, the company confirmed Tuesday.

Hilary Shor and Tony Smith, of Hit and Run Prods., are the producers on the pic.

The option took so long to finalize because James apparently had very specific requests, including a requirement that the novel only be developed as a feature.

The deal will mark the first feature production of a James novel. She has written more than 16 books and won the Cartier Diamond Dagger Award. Several of her books have been adapted by British television.

“Children of Men” is a bit of departure for the mystery novelist. Story is set in the near future in Britain in a world where the human race has become mysteriously sterile. No babies have been born in 25 years and the human race is dying out. A dictatorship has arisen, but a group of revolutionaries discover they have the only pregnant woman in the world.

Beacon exec VP of production Jon Shestack, who secured the project, said the long negotiation was necessary for the 73-year-old James. “Beacon has been after this book for a long time,” he said. “The wooing of the Baroness James was a long process, but we anticipate it was worth the wait.”

The deal was brokered for James by Judy Karfoil, her U.S. agent, and Carol Heaton, her London rep. Debbie Von Arx negotiated for Beacon.

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