“Dangerous Angels,” Francesca Lia Block’s ultrahip young-adult book series featuring L.A. teenager Weetzie Bat and a cast of surfers, rave kids, ghosts and fairies, is about to become a Fox franchise.Fox Searchlight has optioned the series in a deal that could hit seven figures, with merchandising rights going to the studio. Block is adapting the series, and Theresa Duncan, a Gotham-based digital media artist and director, is in talks with Fox to helm the feature as part of a two-pic deal with the studio. Block is an unsung godmother of the crossover market for young-adult books that, in the wake of Harry Potter, has become the rage of Hollywood and the Gotham book trade. With their abundant references to music, fashion, food and sex, the Weetzie Bat books have long struck a nerve with adult readers. And the series — originally published as mass market paperbacks with trippy titles such as “Witch Baby” and “Cherokee Bat and the Goat Guys,” but recently repackaged in one volume by her longtime publisher, HarperCollins — has long drawn interest in Hollywood. Directors Tim Burton and David Lynch have tried to develop the series without success. Block has often been approached about merchandising and clothing tie-ins, but has never before signed away those rights. Block is developing an MTV series, “Shadow Grave,” and there’s keen TV interest in another book of hers, “I Was a Teenage Fairy.” The success of the series, says agent Lydia Wills, who reps Block with Writers & Artists, rests in part on its refusal to pander to teens. “Francesca has always spoken to her audience, especially the teen girl audience, with great respect and has taken their concerns, fears and hopes seriously. TV and books are just starting to do that now.” At a time when studios are trying to capture the teen girl audience — with varying success, as pointed up by the slow bow of “Josie and the Pussycats” –Fox Searchlight is rolling the dice in hopes that Block can translate that skill to the bigscreen. JACKIE COLLINS, POET LAUREATE of Hollywood mass market glitz, has just dispatched another poisonous valentine to her hometown. Last week, she delivered “Hollywood Wives: The New Generation” to publisher Simon & Schuster for publication in June. And she’s switched Hollywood agents, exiting Writers & Artists for Amy Schiffman at Gersh. Aaron Spelling produced the 1995 ABC miniseries of “Hollywood Wives,” which featured Angie Dickinson, Candice Bergen, Suzanne Somers, Anthony Hopkins and Rod Steiger. Collins, who’s sold 200 million books in 40 languages, says today’s Hollywood wives, unlike the last generation, “want to be right upfront with their husbands. They want to have their own production companies, star in their own movies, and they think they’re as important as their very famous husbands.” Collins says a lot of people will recognize themselves in her new roman a clef, from the female producer who screwed her way to success before linking up with a dour, Oscar-winning producer, to “the gay Hollywood ‘wife’: an elegant blonde guy living with a black megamogul in the business.” And should that sound like inside baseball to the Hollywood outsider, there’s also a psychopath stalking the wives, just to keep things lively. THE PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION, awarded Monday to “Kavalier and Clay,” Michael Chabon’s third novel (following “Wonder Boys”), has brought renewed scrutiny to Chabon’s much acclaimed first novel, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh,” as yet unexploited for film. Scott Rudin produced “Wonder Boys” and holds rights to “Kavalier and Clay,” but “Pittsburgh” was taken up several years back by Chabon’s wife, Ayelet Waldman’s small production shingle, Bad Mother Prods. Chabon’s family is actually a cottage industry of TV and film ideas. Chabon has written numerous screenplays, with limited success, and is adapting the “K and C” script for Rudin; Waldman is a writer, who has been developing her own series of crime novels, the Mommy Track Mysteries, as a TV series. The first two novels published thus far, “Nursery Crimes” and “The Big Nap,” concern a powerful lawyer married to a Hollywood screenwriter who begins solving crimes when she’s stuck at home with the kids. The option on “Pittsburgh” has lapsed, but Waldman says now that Chabon has won the Pulitzer, he’s not likely again to give the option away gratis. THE POPE OF POP has sold his memoir. Hyperion will publish “Making Records,” which famed record producer Phil Ramone is writing with L.A. Times scribe Josh Getlin. Ramone has been a pillar of the music industry since the days he recorded Frank Sinatra and produced the birthday party for JFK where Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.” He has produced the Grammys, worked with Barbara Streisand, Billy Joel, Madonna and countless other artists, and produced the soundtrack to pics ranging from “Midnight Cowboy” and “Casino Royale” to “Ghostbusters,” “Nashville” and “Shampoo.” The book, acquired by Hyperion’s new publisher, Ellen Archer, will focus on Ramone’s work inside the studio. It will be edited by senior editor Maureen O’Brien.
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