Paramount shares its ‘Toys’ with Obst

Desmond's debut tome tells of Harvard haunt

Paramount Pictures has picked up the unpublished psychological thriller “Toys of Desperation,” a first novel by Sean Desmond, for Lynda Obst Prods.

The book, described as “The Shining” in the Ivy League, follows a young man attending Harvard who is haunted by the ghost of a student who’d killed a girlfriend 50 years earlier. The ghostly alum now seems intent on framing his contemporary for a similar murder.

Obst will produce the project, which marks the first deal brought in under Obst Prods. prexy Jordi Ros, who joined the Par-based banner last month.

The deal for “Toys” was truly an inhouse composition for ICM, which brokered the deal on Desmond’s behalf. Desmond works as an assistant to ICM Gotham lit agent Kris Dahl, and the manuscript was sent around Hollywood under a pseudonym, John Guinness.

Desmond’s identity was supposedly kept secret even from ICM L.A.’s Alicia Gordon, who made the deal with her New York counterpart, Richard Abate.

Almost concurrently with the Par/Obst deal late last week, ICM also struck a publishing deal for “Toys” with St. Martin’s Press. Though the sale puts him on the film and publishing maps, Desmond (who will use his real name on the published novel) will keep his day job, according to colleagues.