NEW YORK — ABC beat out several network rivals for small screen rights to Susan Finstad’s “Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood,” to be published in spring 2001 by Harmony Books.
Wood drowned while sailing off Catalina Island during the 1981 shooting of the film “Brainstorm” with Christopher Walken.
Finstad will receive $350,000 if the web turns it into a telepic and $550,000 if ABC gives Wood the miniseries treatment.
Telepic will be produced by Gerald W. Abrams under his Cypress Point Prods. banner, and the network is expected to put a writer on the project immediately. Finstad, who has spent two years researching the story, gained access to family members who hadn’t spoken on the record before.
It’s a detailed bio of Wood, who made her screen debut at the age of five and worked steadily throughout her childhood (in films like “Miracle on 34th Street”), adolescence and into adulthood.
Other credits include “Rebel Without a Cause,” “The Searchers,” “Splendor in the Grass” and “West Side Story.”
Finstad, a lawyer from Texas, previously wrote “Sleeping With the Devil,” a bestseller turned into a CBS telepic; a biography of Howard Hughes; and “Child Bride.” Abrams’ producing credits include the Turner telepic “Nuremberg,” starring Alec Baldwin, and “Black and Blue,” the CBS telepic that starred Mary Stuart Masterson and Anthony LaPaglia.
Deal was brokered by AMG’s Joel Gotler and Alan Berger. AMG brokered the publishing deal as well.