Permut lands Shames novel

Producer David Permut and Greenhouse Film Group have acquired rights to Laurence Shames’ novel “Sunburn,” one of several of the author’s works now in development for the screen.

Shames will adapt his novel, the story of a Florida newspaper man who gets the opportunity of the lifetime to collaborate with an aging Mafia don and publish his memoirs. The don’s son, who also is a made man, tips off the mob, which doesn’t want to see the book published. The rights were acquired for low six figures against mid-six figures.

The comedic thriller, Permut says, “is very real. You believe the characters, which are so rich and colorful. There is a terrific humor that he has integrated into the book.”

The novel was published in 1995 by Hyperion.

Permut will co-produce the project with the Greenhouse Film Group, which is headed by Nathaniel Kramer and Michael Kates. Plans are to develop the project, attach talent and then set it up at a studio in a split-rights deal.

Permut and Greenhouse are co-financing and co-producing the Broadway stage show “Complications,” in conjunction with the Nederlander Organization. Herb Ross just signed to direct.

Shames is the author of “Virgin Heat,” optioned by James Brooks’ Gracie Films with Tea Leoni attached to star; “Scavenger Reef” at Vanguard Films; and “Florida Straits” for Paramount and producers Baldwin/Cohen. His next book, “Mangrove Squeeze,” will be published next year.

Permut is one of the producers of “Face/Off,” set for a Friday bow by Par, and he is developing “The Love Boat: The Movie” with Aaron Spelling and Disney, and “Providence” at Touchstone with Jeff Nathanson to write and Paul Brickman to direct.

Kramer and Kates are in pre-production on the pic “The Secret Lives of Dentists,” based on Jane Smiley’s book “The Age of Grief,” and “Kiss God Good-bye” with director Keith Gordon. They also produced “Choices,” which starred Martin Sheen and Laurence Fishburne.

Jody Hotchkiss of Sterling Lord and attorney Bill Sobel repped the author in the deal.

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