Building a following

Scribe inks deals with Redford, Scott Rudin Prods.

NEW YORK — A fictional apartment building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side could become the site of a territorial dispute between Robert Redford’s Wildwood Enterprises and Scott Rudin Prods.

And if that were to happen, it would be just the latest improbable chapter in the short but prosperous career of writer David Schickler.

Redford’s Wildwood has just optioned four interconnected stories from his collection, “Kissing in Manhattan,” attaching Schickler as screenwriter.

Little more than a month ago, Scott Rudin Prods. optioned “The Smoker,” another story from the collection, also attaching Schickler as screenwriter.

The book portrays a set of interconnected characters who reside in or pass through a residential building called the Preemption. The package obtained by Wildwood, which includes the title story, a piece called “Getting Over Otis” and two others, describes a love triangle that resolves itself at the end of the book.

There’s no reason for both films to overlap, however. “The Smoker” focuses on different characters, including a teacher invited to have dinner at the home of a student who’s become infatuated with him.

Schickler, a Rochester, N.Y. teacher, emerged from obscurity this summer after appearing in the New Yorker’s fiction issue. His collection and a second book were swiftly taken off the market for $500,000 by Dial press acquisitions editor Carla Riccio. The book is expected to appear in the summer of 2001.

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