King's 'Bag' worth $15-$18 mil

Author Russell Banks is getting an even closer look from filmmakers, following critical plaudits for Atom Egoyan’s adaptation of his novel “The Sweet Hereafter” — winner of the grand prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Two years ago, Fox 2000 optioned Banks’ “Rule of the Bone,” and the project continues in development with Carl Franklin attached to produce. And the adaptation of Banks’ “Affliction,” helmed by Paul Schrader and starring Nick Nolte, has been traveling the fest circuit, including the Telluride and Venice film festivals.

Recently, producers Mary Ann Braubach and Alex Hendrie optioned Banks’ 1980 novel, “The Book of Jamaica,” about an American professor embroiled in the investigation of a 20-year-old unsolved murder implicating actor Errol Flynn.

Banks, whose 11 other books include “Continental Drift” and “Searching for Survivors,” will produce the film along with Braubach and Hendrie.

Braubach is the co-producer of the upcoming Miramax release “Four Days in September,” directed by Bruno Barreto and starring Alan Arkin. She also produced the TNT movie “Last Stand at Saber River,” based on an Elmore Leonard novel. Hendrie is a former attorney at NBC.

King’s ransom hits $15 million

Word has it that the price for Stephen King’s latest thriller, “Bag of Bones,” has reached the $15 million-$18 million range. King’s agent Arthur Greene has sent the 1,000-page manuscript to several publishers, seeking only a one-book deal with promises of a long-term relationship with the new publisher. Among the publishers said to be vying are corporate siblings Ballantine/Knopf and FSG/St. Martin’s.

Yoakam singing new tune

A synopsis and 190-page screenplay by country crooner and actor Dwight Yoakam is being sent around to publishers by agent David Vigliano. “South of Heaven West of Hell” — replete with bank-robbing gangs, long-festering feuds, a love story and a dress-wearing cowboy — takes place in Las Cruces, N.M., in 1907, and details the exploits of a Spanish-American War hero who turns town marshal and horse trainer.

Hollywood history books

Among the November releases dealing with Hollywood history and its figures are “Tender Comrades: A Backstory of the Hollywood Blacklist,” by Patrick McGilligan and Paul Buhle (St. Martin’s Press). Book is based on 35 interviews with victims of the Hollywood blacklist, bringing to light much that has not been heard before about membership in the New Deal-era Communist Party and its consequences.

Also coming next month: “Cagney,” by John McCabe (Knopf), a bio culled from hours of taped conversations that McCabe began gathering in 1974, when he was hired by Doubleday to help the movie legend write his autobiography “Cagney by Cagney,” and that continued until the actor’s death in 1984.

Editor on the move

Former editor Jennifer Gates Hayes has joined Boston-based lit percentery the Zachary Shuster Agency. Hayes was most recently an associate editor at the ReganBooks division of HarperCollins, where she acquired fiction and nonfiction books.

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