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Col, Calley corral Coben’s Bolitar books

Pic pact begins with 1995's 'Deal Breaker'

Columbia Pictures and producer John Calley acquired screen rights to a series of seven mystery novels by Edgar Award-winning author Harlan Coben.

Pic pact, which took months to close, comes just after Coben signed a deal with Dutton for his next two novels.

Film pact begins with “Deal Breaker,” the 1995 Coben novel that introduced protagonist Myron Bolitar, a jock-turned-sports agent who proves as adept at solving mysteries as he is in closing athlete deals.

In “Deal Breaker,” Bolitar tries to unravel a crisis concerning his star quarterback client who learns the girlfriend he thought was dead might still be alive. The agent navigates that mess as he learns that another of his clients is being poached by the mob. Seth Greenland has been set to write the script.

Calley has a long association with Coben. Before Calley stepped down from his chairman post at Sony Pictures Entertainment to become a producer, he developed Coben’s bestselling novel “Tell No One” at Col.

Deal was made by Intellectual Property Group and Col execs Doug Belgrad and Rachel O’Connor are supervising.

“Calley is one of the few guys I thought I could trust,” said Coben, who’s very protective of his Bolitar character, a protagonist he described as a “wisecracking neurotic Jewish private eye who is also a great athlete.”

Calley is producing with Brian Grazer an adaptation of “The Da Vinci Code” at Columbia from a script by Akiva Goldsman; Tom Hanks stars. He’s also producing “Joan of Bark,” a pic written and to be directed by David Mamet. Calley’s first produced pic was “Closer,” which he produced with director Mike Nichols and Cary Brokaw.

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