NEW YORK — Propaganda Films is near a mid-six-figure deal for screen rights to “Electric God,” the next novel by “Pay It Forward” author Catherine Ryan Hyde. The film will be developed as a directing vehicle for “Arlington Road” helmer Mark Pellington.
At the same time, a second Hyde novel, “Walter’s Purple Heart,” has sold for low six figures to indie producer American World Pictures.
Both screen sales were orchestrated by Jonathan Treisman, a former Disney assistant turned producer who formed Flatiron Films and caught lightning in a bottle when he met Hyde when she was an unpublished author. She agreed to let him produce three of her titles, the first of which was “Pay It Forward.” Treisman took that book to Tapestry Films and then to Bel Air’s Steve Reuther, and Hyde’s story of a youth challenged by a teacher to change the world has turned into one of the most eagerly awaited films of the fall, with Mimi Leder directing and Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt and “Sixth Sense” kid Haley Joel Osment starring.
The Warner Bros. film opens Oct. 20. While the hardcover edition of the novel did not make the bestseller lists, Simon & Schuster plans a massive paperback printing in November that’s tied to the film.
“Electric God,” which will be Hyde’s next published novel from S&S, is a story about a troubled man with a huge but flawed heart who cannot control his passions. Circumstance requires him to reunite with his estranged wife and soon-to-be-wed daughter, and the man has to address his demons and build a new life with his old family.
Pic will be produced by Treisman, Propaganda Films’ Rich Hess, Paul Schiff and Tapestry Films. Tapestry senior veep Andrew Panay, who brought in the project, will co-produce; Pellington development exec Jason Free will steer the film. Pellington, who has a deal with Propaganda, is in pre-production on Lakeshore Entertainment’s “The Mothman Prophesies,” to star Richard Gere.
Treisman, who got an exec producer credit on “Pay It Forward,” will produce “Walter’s Purple Heart” at American World Pictures with Mark Lester and Bryan Etting. Also to be published by S&S, that book centers on a soldier killed during WWII who comes back in the body of a young slacker. The soldier seeks to find closure with his fiancee and the best friend who’s now skedded to marry the woman.
Hyde was repped by Michael Vidor and Anne Sheldon of the Hardy Agency. UTA reps Pellington, and Treisman’s deal was made by attorney Michael Schenkman.