Searchlight finds ‘Descendants’

Payne to produce Hemmings' debut novel

Fox Searchlight has bought the film rights to Kaui Hart Hemmings’ darkly humorous first novel, “The Descendants,” for Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor to produce through their banner Ad Hominem.

Novel, published by Random House, hit the bookstands Tuesday.

Set in Hawaii, the unconventional family drama tells the story of a newly widowed father — the descendant of landowners and one of the richest men on Oahu — who takes off with his two rebellious daughters to track down his wife’s lover on the island of Kauai.

“The Descendants” is a “well-observed, very human story that has a graceful balance of sardonic humor and deep emotion,” said Burke.

Producers are Burke, Payne and Taylor. Ad Hominem has a three-year first-look deal with Searchlight.

Hemmings is the author of “House of Thieves,” a collection of short stories set in Hawaii. Other projects at Ad Hominem include “The Savages” for Searchlight.

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