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Harpo, Playtone team for ‘Edgar’

Oprah's Book Club selection a bestseller

Universal Pictures has acquired the David Wroblewski novel “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” to adapt into a feature to be produced by Playtone’s Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman and Harpo Films partners Oprah Winfrey and Kate Forte.

Published in September by Ecco, the book has been at or near the top of the bestseller lists for 30 weeks. It got a boost when it was selected as a title for Oprah’s Book Club.

Novel revolves around a mute teenager who lives on a farm in Wisconsin with a family that’s raised a coveted breed of dog for generations. Sawtelle’s father dies mysteriously after his uncle comes to stay with the family, which sends the youth fleeing into the woods with three of his dogs.

“Edgar Sawtelle” marks the first collaboration for Hanks’ and Winfrey’s shingles. The pairing was facilitated by the relationship developed when Goetzman was a producer with Forte on Winfrey’s 1998 pic “Beloved.”

Forte said Playtone and Harpo toppers had long sought to work together on a project.

“This seemed perfect,” Forte said of “Edgar Sawtelle.” “I can’t recall reading a book and having such an amazing visceral response.”

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