You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Prayers’ comes true in Witt-Thomas buy

Warner Bros.-based Witt-Thomas Films has acquired the motion picture rights to the historical epic “Simple Prayers,” a first novel by Michael Golding, it was announced Wednesday.

Though terms of the deal were not available, the sale price is believed to be in the low six figures.

Alfonso Arau (“Like Water for Chocolate” and MGM’s upcoming “A Walk in the Clouds”) will direct the fantasy, while vet screenwriter Malia Scotch Marmo (“Once Around,””Hook”) is penning the adaptation. W-T toppers Paul Junger Witt, Tony Thomas and Stuart Oken will produce.

Spring backward

Set on a small Venetian island in the 14th century, the story takes place in the village of Riva di Pignoli, where the denizens must resort to spiritual and ethereal means when spring fails to arrive one year.

“The town creates its own identity and cycle of life in one year that brings them life, death and eventual rebirth,” explained Witt-Thomas prexy Oken. Two men and a woman are caught in this freak of nature and time and have to devise their own way of dealing with it.

“Prayers,” which will print a 30,000-copy first run by Warner Books in April, was originally discovered by Witt-Thomas development director Alex Siskin, who then started packaging it.

Book tour ’94

The book, which has sold in 17 foreign countries, is slated for a extensive press tour with readings in Denver and Seattle.

Michael Siegel & Associates co-reps Golding with Mary Evans at the Virginia Barber Agency in New York. Evans eventually sold “Prayers” to Warner Books, while Siegel sold the film rights to Witt-Thomas. W-T senior VP Corinne Mann is described as key in nabbing Marmo for the adaptation.

Next up on the W-T slate is Nora Ephron’s “The Night Before Xmas,” a comedy starring Steve Martin, which begins shooting Feb. 14 for TriStar Pictures.

Among W-T’s development projects are “William the Magnificent,” a co-production with Amblin Entertainment about an eccentric circus family, and “The Storm Chaser,” a thriller about a tornado expert written by “Patriot Games” scripter Peter Iliff.

More Film

  • Oh Mercy

    Cannes Film Review: 'Oh Mercy'

    It takes more than just watching “Oh Mercy” to understand exactly why Arnaud Desplechin was drawn to the subject matter of his latest movie, a reasonably engrossing police procedural with roots in a 2008 TV documentary. Something of an unexpected detour in the veteran director’s weighty career, the film combines multiple strands to paint a [...]

  • Spielberg's Amblin Chief Jeff Small on

    Listen: Spielberg's Amblin Chief on Making 'Movies in the Middle'

    With the sequel “A Dog’s Journey” now in theaters, Amblin Partners continues to find ways to release the kind of films that aren’t typical of what dominates American multiplexes these days. An follow-up to the 2017 surprise hit “A Dog’s Purpose,” “Journey” is just another example of the cinematic strategy evident at Amblin, the production [...]

  • I Lost My Body

    French Animation 'I Lost My Body' Tops Cannes Critics' Week Winners

    “I Lost My Body,” a dark French animated film from writer-director Jérémy Clapin, has come up trumps in this year’s Critics’ Week program at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the strand’s top honor, the Nespresso Grand Prize. The film, which follows a young man’s severed hand as it struggles to be reunited with its own, [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business WGA ATA Agent

    Talent Agents Blast Verve Agreement With Writers Guild

    The lead negotiator for Hollywood’s talent agencies has again blasted the Writers Guild and its recent agreement with the Verve agency — and cautioned other agencies against following suit. Verve defected from the major agencies on May 16 when it became the first sizable Hollywood talent agency to sign the WGA’s Code of Conduct. That [...]

  • Forest Whitaker

    Netflix Teams With Forest Whitaker on 'Hello, Universe' Movie

    Netflix and Forest Whitaker are collaborating on live-action family movie “Hello, Universe,” based on the 2018 Newbery Award winner and New York Times bestselling novel by Erin Entrada Kelly. Playwright and screenwriter Michael Golamco (“Always Be My Maybe”) will adapt the book. Whitaker and Nina Yang Bongiovi (“Fruitvale Station”) of Significant Productions will produce. The [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content