Weinsteins acquire ‘Mad’ rights

TWC to adapt tome on the Gallo brothers

The Weinstein Co. is making one of its first attempts at book-film synergy.

Gotham outfit has acquired the book rights to “The Mad Ones,” an as-yet-unwritten tale from author Tom Folsom about the notorious Gallo brothers, and has optioned it for film and television.

Book will follow the trio of New York brothers who, in the 1960s, attempted a revolt against the Profaci crime family of which they were a part. Company called the project, which also examines the downtown counterculture in which the brothers dabbled, a “collision of a classic crime story and pop culture portrait of the turbulent ’60s.”

Tome will be published by Weinstein Books in 2009.

Folsom is a television producer who also co-wrote Leroy Barnes’ memoir; Barnes was a heroin kingpin whose exploits reportedly served as the inspiration for the movie “New Jack City.”

Film project isn’t the first to involve the Gallos: Joey Gallo was the basis for Columbia’s 1974 pic “Crazy Joe,” and the brothers for characters in “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight” and “Godfather Part III.”

Project came via the company’s Weinstein Books shingle and its topper, Rob Weisbach.

The Weinstein Co. had previously scooped up rights to a manuscript for children’s book “Alex and the Ironic Gentleman,” but “The Mad Ones” marks its first foray into an adult-oriented book-film project.

Combining book and film rights has been a much sought after — but often elusive — goal for companies with presences in both realms.

Some producers have had success combing book catalogs; Random House Films, a joint venture between Focus Features and the publishing house, will in the fall release “Reservation Road,” a drama starring Joaquin Phoenix based on a novel that Random House published.

But simultaneous acquisitions are trickier. When the Weinstein brothers ran it at Disney, Miramax Books optioned the film rights to Erica Kennedy’s hip-hop tale “Bling” at the same time that it bought the book, but the company has not yet made the movie (the option has been renewed for 2008). It also holds an option on its fantasy bestseller “Artemis Fowl.”

Weinstein Books is publishing its first list in the fall; titles on its release calendar include tomes from Padma Lakshmi and Chris Elliott as well as “Alex and the Ironic Gentleman.”

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