Trilogy, Syntax buy up 'Simmons'

Trilogy Entertainment and Syntax Entertainment have bought the film rights to Tom Wolfe’s college romp “I Am Charlotte Simmons,” with Trilogy partner John Watson set to pen the screenplay.

No director is yet attached.

Wolfe’s novel follows an innocent college freshman from a North Carolina mountain town who must adapt to the harsh realities of a contemporary university campus.

Book, published last year, ranked No. 11 on Publishers Weekly’s end-of-the-year list. Picador USA released “I Am Charlotte Simmons” in paperback in August. Though the book enjoyed some sales success and was No. 1 on numerous college campuses, it drew a lukewarm reception from some critics for its length (nearly 700 pages).

Watson will produce the feature with Trilogy partners Neil Kaplan and Pen Densham, along with Syntax’s Brantley M. Dunaway.

“Tom Wolfe completely captures the essence of college life,” Watson said. “He gets the language, he gets the characters. Jocks, nerds, co-ed dorms, frat parties, tailgate parties — he brings them all to life in vivid and often painful detail.”

Watson recently adapted Richard Condon’s novel “An Infinity of Mirrors,” which Trilogy optioned.

Trilogy has produced a dozen features, including “Robin Hood,” “Backdraft” and “The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys,” and more than 300 hours of network television.

Syntax recently partnered with Stone Village Entertainment to acquire and develop Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera” for the bigscreen; scribe Ronald Harwood has adapted. Syntax and Stone Village are producing with New Line Cinema.

(Steven Zeitchik in New York contributed to this report.)

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