Studio taps oil tale with Jacobson

Based on 100 pages and an outline, Paramount Pictures has made a preemptive deal for screen rights to “Black Monday,” a novel being written by Bob Reiss. Par-based Tom Jacobson will produce.

Reiss, whose novels include “The Last Spy,” is penning a thriller that revolves around oil. A mysterious condition is eroding the quality of the crude with catastrophic results, and a federal investigator tries to solve the problem before the world is brought to a screeching halt.

Circumstances behind the book’s purchase by Paramount illustrate why several studios have recently bolstered their Gotham-based book scouting operations. Par exec Patricia Burke got an advance look at the partially finished book through Reiss and his ICM agents. Hollywood-based Paramount exec Dan Levine and Jacobson sparked to the title and a deal was made for the book. Exec Oliver Obst is overseeing for Jacobson.

“It is a very timely idea, and what works best about this is the way the consequences unfold both on a personal level as well as in the context of a global crisis,” Jacobson said. Studio will put a screenwriter on it quickly while Reiss completes the novel.

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