Buy may have rich backend

Disney-based production outfit Sonnenfeld/Josephson has snagged Don DeLillo’s seminal 1984 novel “White Noise” for Barry Sonnenfeld to develop and direct, beating out several other suitors in the process.

Though no financial details of the deal were disclosed, the three-year option is believed to include a rich backend.

S/J will be going out to writers immediately.

“It is (Sonnenfeld’s) intention to direct the material,” said the helmer’s producing partner, Barry Josephson. “It’s a book he’s been interested in for years. It’s really a milestone book. The experience the main character goes through means there’s a commercial movie there.”

In the dark comedy, which cemented DeLillo’s literary reputation upon publication in 1984, a toxic disaster in a Midwestern burg forces an academic couple to re-examine their passive role in the consumer society that brought about the accident.

Main character Jack Gladney is a college professor who becomes addicted, along with everyone in town, to an experimental drug that sends him into a complex world where the real and unreal co-exist.

DeLillo’s magnum opus, “Underworld,” recently went to Scott Rudin at Paramount.

“Noise,” which won the National Book Award in 1985, has previously been set up at HBO and at James Brooks’ Sony-based Gracie Films. Josephson added that the deal happened only because Sonnenfeld had been passionate about wanting to bring the story to the screen.

Ron Bernstein from the Gersh Agency made the deal for DeLillo along with Gotham-based lit agent Lois Wallace. Nina Jacobson is the Disney executive on the project.

S/J has just completed shooting on “The Crew,” helmed by Michael Dinner. The cast includes Richard Dreyfuss, Carrie-Anne Moss, Burt Reynolds and Jennifer Tilly.

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