New Line’s pricey ‘List’

Mini-major pays $1.1 against $1.5 mil for screen rights to novel

New Line has paid a $1.1 million against $1.5 million sum for screen rights to “Henry’s List of Wrongs,” a first novel by John Scott Shepherd. The novel, a story of redemption and romance, will be shopped to publishers early this week.

“Henry’s List of Wrongs” concerns a shy boy who summons the courage to ask the girl of his dreams to the prom, only to have her dump him that night. He transforms himself into a ruthless corporate shark known as the Assassin, who returns home 10 years later intent on exacting revenge. Upon his return, he discovers the target of his vengeance, the girl who spurned him, did so because she was dying and didn’t want him to suffer through her ordeal.

Now realizing his entire loathsome persona was built on misinformation, the guy sets about trying to right the wrongs of five people he has screwed over. He enlists the help of a psych student/maid who works in the hotel he’s staying in. She goes from making his bed to sleeping in it, and they fall in love. But she, too, is burdened by serious unresolved issues from her past.

The film will be produced by Ken Atchity and Chi-Li Wong of AEI, and Warren Zide and Craig Perry of Zide-Perry Films. Atchity is in New York this week to conduct an auction of literary rights. Paradigm’s Valarie Phillips repped the writer in the film deal along with attorney Joel McKuin of Colden & McKuin.

New Regency outbid

The novel was a bolt from the blue for book-rights buyers when the producers sprang it on studios Wednesday. Z-P’s J.C. Spink serviced it to New Line director of development Richard Brener, who pulled prexy Mike DeLuca out of a screening to read the book. By that time, New Regency had made a preemptive offer, but the dealmakers held off until New Line cracked the seven-figure mark with the winning offer.

Shepherd, who comes out of the advertising business in Kansas City, will hit the spec market in two weeks with a dark comic script called “The Kill Martin Club.” Shepherd, who is moving beyond the blurb business in hopes of becoming a writer/director, may adapt “Henry’s List of Wrongs,” and is at work on his second novel.