Lit picks

'Sparrow' takes wing

Los Angeles-based production-management company Addis-Wechsler & Associates has optioned the film rights to “The Sparrow,” Mary Doria Russell’s current novel, as well as the book’s sequel, “Children of God.”

Geoffrey Wright (“Romper Stomper”) is attached to direct. Nick Wechsler and Julia Chasman will produce.

Antonio Banderas has expressed interest in the futuristic thriller recounting the travails of Father Emilio Sandoz, a Jesuit linguist who becomes the sole survivor of a secret Jesuit expedition to the planet Rakhat and detects signs of intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Bill Contardi and Amy Schiffman of the William Morris Agency brokered the deal on behalf of Russell’s New York lit agent Jan Dystel.

‘My Favorite War’ enlists HBO

HBO has optioned the film rights to Time magazine writer Christopher John Farley’s debut novel, “My Favorite War,” for a made-for-cable film.

Nelson George will exec produce and Caron K will co-produce. Lee Davis has signed on to write the adaptation of Farley’s semiautobiographical novel, released by Farrar Straus Giroux last year.

The book follows the exploits of a 29-year-old black man with an Ivy League education and a job as a national newspaper reporter. He subsists half on self-loathing and half on fighting his favorite battles – against racism, the media and consumer culture. His path ultimately takes him to the Gulf War.

Farley will consult on the movie. Farley was repped by William Morris on the deal.

ReganBooks singles out McCarthy

ReganBooks, an imprint of HarperCollins, has picked up the publishing rights for a book by Jenny McCarthy, the MTV vixen who recently inked a deal to star in a sitcom for NBC. ReganBooks topper Judith Regan would not give details on the book other than to offer that “it will be a completely original kind of book, never before done.”

ReganBooks is currently looking for a co-writer.

Picks and previews

The following is a selection of upcoming books according to pre-publication lists supplied by Publishers Weekly.

“Angels of the Universe”

Einar Mar Gudmundsson, trans. by Bernard Scudder (St. Martin’s) Pub date: March

A chilling, hallucinatory account of an adolescent’s descent into and partial recovery from schizophrenia, this intensely poetic novel challenges the psychiatric establishment’s faith in drug-based therapy.

Rights: available


“The Escape Artist”

Diane Chamberlain (HarperCollins) Pub date: March

Susanna Miller has lost custody of her 11-month-old son, Tyler, to her ex-husband and his new wife. Telling no one, Susanna flees, assuming a new identity as Kim Stratton. Looking for work, she buys a used computer that contains a cryptic list of names. Realizing that two of the names have been victims of letter bombs, she finds herself drawn into a web of mystery.

Rights: available


Upcoming industry-related books

* “Charlie Chaplin and His Times,” Kenneth S. Lynn (Simon & Schuster); pub date: March.

* “The Speed of Sound: Hollywood and the Talkie Revolution, 1926-1930,” Scott Eyman (Simon & Schuster); pub date: March.

* “The Oxford History of World Cinema,” edited by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith (Oxford University); available in February

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