Grisham bestseller to be adapted by Goodloe

Adam Shankman is set to direct “Playing for Pizza,” an adaptation of the John Grisham bestseller that will be scripted by J. Mills Goodloe. Phoenix Pictures optioned the book in May.

Pic will be a co-production of Phoenix and Shankman’s Offspring Entertainment. Mike Medavoy, Arnie Messer and David Thwaites will produce, while Shankman and Offspring partner Jennifer Gibgot will be executive producers. Phoenix aims to set the project up at a studio with a script and cast package.

“Pizza” revolves around a veteran NFL quarterback who winds up on a semi-pro team in Italy after blowing his last chance to lead a team to the Super Bowl.

Shankman, who just completed the Adam Sandler starrer “Bedtime Stories,” has several percolating projects that include a potential “Hairspray” sequel but told Daily Variety he hopes to make “Playing for Pizza” his next directorial outing, eyeing a spring production start in Italy.

A gymnast before he became a dancer, choreographer and director, Shankman sparked to making a film about how an athlete keeps the competitive fire burning even when it’s doused by defeat.

“We want to make this grittier than the book, a cross between ‘North Dallas Forty’ and ‘Jerry Maguire,’ about a character who fails in the public eye, goes into survival mode as a result and then learns through a series of events that he doesn’t have to be Tony Romo to be a success as a man,” Shankman said.

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