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WB nabs ‘Underachiever’ for Outlaw

Mid-six figures paid for Dial Press novel by novice

Warner Bros. has optioned film rights to novel “An Underachiever’s Diary,” by first-time novelist Benjamin Anastas, for Bobby Newmyer’s Outlaw Prods., which has a production deal with the studio.

Option ran into the mid-six figures, according to sources.

The newly published Dial Press novel is described as a darkly comedic exploration of the nature of success and failure, told through the voice and observations of one half of a pair of identical twin brothers. One of the brothers is successful and driven, while the other — the book’s antihero narrator — doesn’t follow the standard concept of high achievement.

The Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Anastas is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop and is the winner of the Frederick Exley fiction prize from GQ magazine.

Who’s who

Outlaw president Scott Strauss and development exec Jeanne Allgood brought the project to Warners’ Michael Andreen.

Outlaw is talking to screenwriters and directors to adapt “Underachiever.”

Anastas was repped in the deal by his film agent, Amy Schiffman, in Los Angeles, and by his book agent, Joni Evens, in New York. Both are with the William Morris Agency.

The 10-year-old Outlaw, founded by Newmyer and Jeffrey Silver, re-upped its 4-year-old first-look deal at Warners earlier this year. They also recently inked a co-production agreement with foreign film sales company Intermedia, in partnership with Japanese TV and film company Fuji Television Network.