‘Perks’ guy in pics; Nerve racking up deals

STEVE CHBOSKY, AUTHOR of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” is not likely to remain a wallflower for long: He’s been tapped by Miramax to adapt the Tony-decorated Broadway musical “Rent” for the bigscreen. He’s also writing and directing “Finger Nails and Smooth Skin” for GreeneStreet. The film is being cast, and an offer has reportedly been made to Robert Downey Jr.

Chbosky rewrote “Audrey Hepburn’s Neck” for Miramax and “Schoolhouse Rock” for Jersey Films.

MTV Books, an imprint of Pocket Books, has just printed its 100,000th copy of “Wallflower,” making it the most successful title in the trade paperback fiction series that MTV Books launched in 1998.

Producers have circled “Wallflower,” but it remains unoptioned. One industry insider calls Chbosky “New York’s best-kept secret.”

Although MTV has yet to produce an original film or series based on any MTV fiction, there have been offers. Miramax optioned the third book in the series, Tod Goldberg’s “Fake Liar Cheat.”

Pocket deputy publisher Kara Welsh attributes the success of “Wallflower” in part to the fluid relationship between Viacom affiliates MTV and Pocket. “It’s a coming-of-age story aimed right at the MTV audience,” she said. MTV produced an on-air spot for the book — a marketing coup enjoyed by few novels, especially first novels by little-known writers. It was also promoted on the book page of MTV.com.

Pocket senior editor Greer Hendricks edits the MTV fiction series. Chbosky’s lit agent is Jack Horner at ICM. Leora Bloch and Jeff Gorin at ICM represent him for features.

MTV Books has also just inked a deal to publish “MTV Uncensored,” an oral history of the net to be released next summer to coincide with the music cabler’s 20th anniversary. Members of MTV’s programming department helped write and design the book, which will feature contributions from various celeb guests.

THE SMALL BUT AMBITIOUSLY entrepreneurial media company Nerve.com, founded by Rufus Griscom and Genevieve Field in 1997, has named Ross Martin veep of film and TV development.

The appointment reflects an ongoing effort by Nerve, which began as a Web site purveying “literate smut,” to expand its brand into other arenas, particularly film and TV. Nerve, which retains Good Machine partner Ted Hope on its board of advisers, is taking an aggressive approach to selling dramatic rights to content.

Most magazine writers pocket wholesale any film option emerging from an assignment; contributors to Nerve.com and its bimonthly print counterpart (now boasting a 65,000-copy circulation) grant Nerve a stake as large as 75%, however.

In return, Nerve ambitiously sells the content to Hollywood. At least two major production deals are expected to be announced in the weeks ahead; as with any production deal reached by the company, they will involve a “presented by” credit for Nerve. Griscom would eventually like to create both a film label and a 24-hour cable network.

“We see ourselves as a factory of great sex-related stories,” he said.

In keeping with that vision, Nerve has released a spoken-word CD, published one book (“Nerve: Literate Smut”), is under contract for three more and co-presented David Schisgall’s docu on swingers, “The Lifestyle.” Nerve also opened a merchandise line and a small PR firm that counts among its clients Ira Deutchman’s digital production company, StudioNext.

Martin was previously a story editor and production exec at 40 Acres & a Mule Filmworks. His responsibilities at Nerve include helping to shape editorial ideas to make them more suitable for adaptation, as well as packaging and pitching projects for film and TV.

MOSHAG PRODS. HAS OPTIONED an article from Details magazine describing the competitive world of championship dog Frisbee. “Bark Raving Mad,” written by Benjamin Wallace, appeared in Details in February.

Moshag head Mark Mower has attached two writers, Michael Mayer and Joshua Neuman, and likens the tone of the project to that of “Happy Gilmore.”

Mayer wrote and will direct feature pic “The Squeeze” and wrote and directed a short, “The Robber,” that has played on HBO.

Moshag recently set up “57, Chicago” with Miramax.

Wallace is repped by Lucy Stille at Paradigm, and Gary Morris at the David Black Literary Agency. Mayer and Neuman are repped by Mark Halloran of Erickson & Halloran. Mower is repped by Philip Rosen of Rosen & Anderson.

More Voices

  • Hollywood Has Come Far With Diversity

    An Insider's Look at Hollywood's Diversity Efforts and How Far It Still Needs to Go

    I am a white man working in Hollywood. I grew up in Beverlywood, an all-white, predominantly Jewish, Los Angeles neighborhood sandwiched between 20th Century Fox Studios and MGM, where my elementary school had only one black student. I am compelled to write about diversity in Hollywood because “diversity” — in front of and behind the camera [...]

  • Venice Film Festival A Star is

    How Venice, Toronto and Telluride Festivals Stole Cannes' Luster (Column)

    In all the years I’ve been attending film festivals, I have never seen a lineup that looked as good on paper as Venice’s did this fall, boasting new films by Alfonso Cuarón (“Roma”), Damien Chazelle (“First Man”), Paul Greengrass (“22 July”), Mike Leigh (“Peterloo”) and the Coen brothers (“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”) in competition, [...]

  • Black Women in Medicine BTS

    Hollywood Needs to Include People With Disabilities on Both Sides of the Camera (Guest Column)

    In five years, nothing has changed. Despite open calls for greater diversity and inclusion, recent research shows that there was little change in the number of characters with disabilities in popular films in 2017. A study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that [...]

  • Seven Seconds

    Fighting the Racial Bias at the Core of Hollywood’s Cop Shows (Guest Column)

    If fiction is the lie that tells a deeper truth, the TV crime genre has been, for the most part, the lie that simply tells a lie. As a storyteller (Veena) and an advocate for racial justice (Rashad), we collaborated for the past two-and-a-half years in an attempt to reimagine the roles of cops, victims, [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein Trial

    Column: Documentarian Barry Avrich Ponders Whether Harvey Weinstein Will Be Convicted

    Will Harvey Weinstein go to jail? That’s perhaps the most debated topic in Hollywood. It’s a question that makes me miss my friend Dominick Dunne, the controversial Vanity Fair columnist who would have already succeeded in interview-ing the chambermaids at Harvey’s sex-addiction clinic. Dunne once prophetically told me there would be a massive reckoning in Hollywood. He [...]

  • Janet Mock Pose

    'Pose' Writer Janet Mock on Making History With Trans Storytelling (Guest Column)

    I first met Ryan Murphy on location in Hollywood in July. The set was a nightclub, filled with background actors staged as glistening go-go dancers, shirtless revelers, and twirling drag queens. They were all basking under the glow of a spinning disco ball — a fitting setting for my first Hollywood job interview. I was [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content