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Miramax likes ‘What She Saw’

New Yorker's fiction series strikes again with Rosenfeld's novel, deal

NEW YORK — Lucinda Rosenfeld is the latest writer to land a lucrative film deal following a splashy debut as part of the New Yorker’s first fiction series this summer.

Miramax has taken an option on Rosenfeld’s first novel, out from Random House next month, whose prolix title has been abbreviated by all parties involved as “What She Saw …”

Though DreamWorks dangled the prospect of placing Sam Mendes behind the camera, the Gotham-based mini-major landed the book for what’s said to be a low six-figure option that could go north of $1 million should the film be made.

“We attempted to option the book for Sam Mendes to direct,” confirmed a DreamWorks source, “but the author chose to go with Miramax.”

The book is a bitterly funny chronicle of a suburban New Jersey teen’s romantic rites of passage, with each chapter devoted to an affair with one of more than a dozen, mostly dislikable, men.

It caused a stir when the New Yorker ran a racy excerpt illustrated by a full-page snapshot of the author.

Random House clearly hopes it will capture the large readership drawn to such books as “Bridget Jones’ Diary” and “The Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing.”

Last month, in a demonstration of the power of the New Yorker fiction department’s imprimatur, Scott Rudin optioned the New Yorker debut of David Schickler.

His short story “The Smoker” became an overnight sensation after appearing in the magazine in June, landing the author a $500,000 book contract with Dial.

Jennifer Wachtel, director of creative affairs at Miramax, brought “What She Saw …” to the studio.

The deal was negotiated by senior veep of business affairs Steve Hutensky and veep of business and legal affairs Eric Roth.

Rosenfeld is repped by Maria Massie of Withersoon Associates. CAA handled the film deal.

(Paul Duke in Hollywood contributed to this report.)

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