Julia Roberts moves to ‘Neighborhood’

Red Om acquires screen rights to book

Julia Roberts’ production shingle Red Om Films has acquired screen rights to “In the Neighborhood,” a nonfiction book by Peter Lovenheim to be published next April by Perigee.

Deal marks the fifth property Red Om has set up through its first-look pact with Reliance Big Entertainment; Red Om’s is one of the 10 accords the India-based giant made with production companies of A-list stars and directors. Reliance Big’s hope is to nurture 30 star-driven films it can co-finance with studios.

“In the Neighborhood” starts with Lovenheim’s realization of a lack of community in his suburban hometown. In an effort to get to know his neighbors better, he asks if he can come to their homes for sleepovers. His goal: to facilitate something more than the feeling of strangers living with strangers in modern suburbia.

Red Om sparked to the Capra-esque element, and Reliance Big agreed.

Philip Rose and Lisa Gillan as well as Roberts will produce for Red Om.

Roberts, who’s currently shooting “Eat, Pray, Love” for Columbia Pictures, hasn’t had a first-look studio deal since her alliance ended with Joe Roth’s Revolution. Reliance Big Entertainment has set four other ambitious projects for her:

  • “My Mother the Cheerleader,” based on Robert Sharenow’s Civil Rights-era novel about a 13-year-old girl whose mother is part of a group of women who harass the first black student after court-ordered integration.

  • “Jesus Henry Christ,” written and to be directed by Dennis Lee, who collaborated with Roberts on “Fireflies in the Garden.”

  • “Mallory,” a script by Matthew Faulk and Mark Skeet on the life of George Mallory, the English mountaineer who was part of the first three British expeditions up Mount Everest in the 1920s.

  • “The Journey of the Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon,” an adaptation of a book that tells the tragic story of a fast-rising photographer who chronicled the deadly famine in Somalia until, at 22, he was chased down and brutally murdered by a Somali mob. Project is being undertaken in collaboration with Eldon’s mother, Kathy, who edited the compilation of her son’s journals.

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