Fox Developing Murder Mystery ‘A Simple Favor’ as Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

Fox 2000 has bought movie rights to Darcey Bell’s upcoming murder mystery “A Simple Favor,” Variety has learned exclusively.

The pre-emptive deal for “A Simple Favor” was closed Thursday and has not yet been set with a producer. The story has been pitched as being in the vein of Gillian Flynn’s 2012 novel “Gone Girl” and Paula Hawkins’ 2015 debut “The Girl on the Train” — two best-selling thrillers in which a female protagonist disappears from a seemingly perfect relationship, part of the “domestic noir” genre.

“A Simple Favor” centers on three small-town characters: a mommy blogger, her best friend who disappears suddenly and the latter’s husband. The story includes betrayals and reversals, a dead body and the revolving question of who is duping whom.

Bell is a pre-school teacher in Chicago. The publication rights to “A Simple Favor” have been sold as part of a two-book to Harper Collins for publication in 2017 by the Denise Shannon Literary Agency.

Both Harper Collins and Fox are subsidiaries of News Corp.

Fox’s film adaptation of “Gone Girl,” starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike with David Fincher directing, was a major success for the studio with worldwide grosses hitting $370 million in 2014. Arnon Milchan, Reese Witherspoon, Cean Chaffin and Josh Donen produced.

DreamWorks developed “The Girl on the Train” with Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans and Édgar Ramírez starring. Produced by Marc Platt, “The Girl on the Train” will be the first film production from DreamWorks to be distributed by Universal as part of the studio’s new distribution deal. The film will be released on Oct. 7.

CAA represented the movie rights in the deal with Fox.

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