Kaufman Co. picks up 'Scorpions,' 'Bees'

NEW YORK — The Kaufman Co. has optioned two books, paying six figures for “A Story of Scorpions,” a Gabriel Everett novel published by Crown in 1997, and acquiring Gene Stratton Porter’s 1925 novel “The Keeper of the Bees” for an undisclosed sum.

“Scorpions” is a psychological thriller about a minister whose family was brutally murdered and the relationship he forges with the imprisoned killer. “Bees,” which concerns a soldier who escapes a veterans hospital and falls in love, has been adapted for film three times: once as a silent starring Clara Bow, the most recent a version directed by John Sturges in 1947.

Kaufman in control

Kaufman prexy Paul A. Kaufman, who helmed “Run the Wild Fields” for Showtime, is attached to direct both projects and will work with Everett to adapt “Scorpions” to the screen.

Although the Kaufman company has a first-look development deal with Alliance Atlantis, the “Scorpions” acquisition was not made for Alliance. Kaufman has been actively producing films, including many TV pics, since 1994, but now plans to focus on features.

Jody Hotchkiss of Sterling Lord Literistic brokered the “Scorpions” deal. “Bees” was optioned directly from the Porter estate.

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