Partial manuscript seen a blueprint for star-driven laffer

Joe Roth’s Revolution Studios and Julia Roberts’ Shoelace Prods. have made a preemptive buy of an unfinished novel by Laura Zigman that will be published by Knopf.

Zigman’s last novel, “Animal Husbandry,” was adapted into the Ashley Judd/Hugh Jackman romantic comedy “Someone Like You.”

The new film will be produced by Revolution partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Deb Schindler, who runs Shoelace Prods. with Roberts.

The partial, 179-page manuscript was sent out selectively last week by UTA under the working title “Her,” to capitalize on the Fox 2000 film release, and Revolution and Shoelace moved quickly to close a deal before other bidders mobilized.

Revolution made the purchase Friday evening; price was undisclosed.

Novel, viewed as a blueprint for a star-driven mainstream comedy, has not been purchased as a star vehicle for Roberts, as it is in some ways reminiscent of thesp’s hit “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” The producers are already eyeing a big female star and a writer and expect to get the project on a fast track.

Zigman’s novel revolves around a Washington woman who meets the perfect guy, a wealthy lawyer who ended a relationship and has relocated from Gotham to D.C. to teach school. The woman becomes irked by the close relationship between her lover and his ex.

Goldsmith-Thomas, who five months ago left ICM after being Roberts’ longtime agent, has jump-started Revolution Studios East, helped by the naming of vet Gotham producer Schindler as Roberts’ Shoelace partner.

They’ve set up 10 projects since then, with the Zigman novel becoming the first romantic comedy, a surprise given Goldsmith-Thomas’ success in helping Roberts choose the romantic comedies that have fueled the Oscar-winner’s current hit streak.

Other projects for Revolution and Shoelace include “Project 3,” the drama that will reteam Roberts with scripter Joel Wyman and director Gore Verbinski, her cohorts on “The Mexican.”

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