Koontz rolls at Random

NEW YORK — Via their Random House Films partnership, Focus Features and Random House are teaming to bring an adaptation of Dean Koontz’s upcoming novel “The Husband” to the bigscreen.

Project follows an ordinary man whose love for his wife is put to a harrowing series of tests over a 60-hour period, beginning when his peaceful workday is shattered by a phone call from a stranger.

Deal marks the first major move for Universal specialty film arm Focus since former co-head David Linde was upped to co-chairman of Universal Pictures, leaving the unit under the sole purview of James Schamus.

“Husband,” which will be published by Random’s Bantam Books imprint in May, becomes the third pic on the Random House Films slate, following pickups of Yasmina Khadra’s “The Attack” and Bob Drogin’s “Curveball.”

Random House Films brass said the Koontz project is now headed for immediate development.

Koontz’s books have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide. “I have not been wildly happy with adaptations that have occurred in the past,” Koontz told Daily Variety. “I’ve felt that the books were reduced to the lowest common denominator and an action line that may not be like mine. But I was impressed by James Schamus and (Random House Films prexy) Peter Gethers’ attitude. I feel very confident in turning this project over to them. Because the people at Focus understand both story and subtext, they make narratively engaging, intelligent movies.”

Focus’ other recent credits include Ang Lee’s “Brokeback Mountain” and Rian Johnson’s “Brick.”

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