WITH TWO BOOK BUYS in two weeks and five others since last June, Scott Steindorff’s Stone Village shingle has emerged to become one of the few aggressive buyers in the world of book rights. And he’s done it again: Steindorff has just closed a low six- against low seven-figure deal for Michael Cordy’s “Lucifer,” a buy which comes right after his purchase of the upcoming Frederick Huebner-penned Simon & Schuster novel “Shades of Justice.”
The buying spree has material sellers asking, just who the heck is this guy?
Steindorff, 42, comes to film development after a stint as a real estate developer. He said he cut his teeth in the family business of building retirement communities, and, over 20 years, has been involved in the development of everything from buildings to shopping malls.
Steindorff, who lives in Vegas, five years ago picked up the lapsed option on the Tom Tryon novel “Night Magic,” and he’s now using his own coin to buy and develop books.
“I’ve learned hard lessons in real estate, and picking material is similar to picking the right location,” he said.
Steindorff is doing everything himself, explaining that, “The guys who are successful in any business do everything. I’m passionate about the kinds of projects I’m doing and who I’m doing them with. I can tell, you I’m in this for the long run.”
Steindorff, who set “Night Magic” with Italian financier Eagle Pictures, started his buying binge last June with the Phillip Roth novel “The Human Stain,” which is being adapted by Nicholas Meyer. Steindorff has recouped his money by setting up the project at Lakeshore Ent., (Steindorff knew Tom Rosenberg through their mutual real estate backgrounds).
He used his own coin to option the T. C. Boyle novel “Tortilla Curtain.” He also snapped up the Brad Thor novel “The Lions of Lucerne,” the Reed Arvin thriller “The Will” and Bill Brannon’s unpublished “The Fourth Ventricle.”
Steindorff’s energy and willingness to put his money on the line has drawn some fans, like Roland Perkins, a founding CAA partner who’s mentored the fledgling producer, and helped him seal the “Night Magic” deal with Eagle.
“He’s got a good nose for material, and somehow has gotten access to it, which isn’t easy,” said Perkins.
Gene Simmons, the singer/bass player for Kiss, has also become a partner on several projects, including “The Will.” “He called out of the blue a year ago and we sat and tossed ideas around,” said Simmons. “Hollywood is full of people who talk the talk, but Scott walks the walk.”
Steindorff, who wrote a special effects show at MGM Grand and is working on another, is also developing “The Prince of Nothing,” an original idea he hopes to turn into a novel. He’s also planning to move into book publishing.
SCRIBE REVOLUTION? Revolution’s Todd Garner has made a sizable six-figure investment in an untitled pitch by Steven Rogers. The drama, to be produced by “American Beauty” producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen, is about a cross-country road trip taken by an IRS auditor, his surly 13-year old son, a 75-year old woman and her guardian angel. Rogers hatched the story with pal Tate Taylor, and hopes it continues an enviable streak for the scribe; Rogers has watched nearly every project he’s written get produced. An actor who learned the craft from his regional theater producer father Herb Rogers, he wrote “Kate and Leopold” as an acting vehicle for himself … only to find that he didn’t really want to perform. (That pic’s now being made with Meg Ryan and Hugh Jackman.) Rogers followed with the Sandra Bullock hit “Hope Floats,” the HBO adaptation of the Anne Tyler book “Earthly Possessions” with Susan Sarandon and then “Flora Plum,” the pic Jodie Foster still wants to direct even though it was derailed when Russell Crowe suffered a shoulder injury. Rogers also did rewrite work on “Ever After” and “Stepmom,” but those trying experiences prompted him to shun that work, and Rogers now prefers to sell his project creations to producers who protect their writers from being rewritten. That led him to Jinks and Cohen, whose “Beauty” was the unchanged vision of Oscar winning scripter Alan Ball. Rogers has also just sold to Fox 2000 his kidpic script “The Day Fenwick Whitehead Became Popular and Saved The World.”
BIG BREAK: Kathryn Morris, who played an FBI agent who unraveled a conspiracy in “The Contender,” will move to a lead role as Tom Cruise’s lawyer in the Steven Spielberg-directed “Minority Report” for Fox and DreamWorks. The APA/Gold-Miller repped actress joins Cruise, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton in the futuristic drama which begins shooting shortly. It is the second straight Spielberg pic for Morris, who just wrapped “A.I.,” opposite Jude Law, Haley Joel Osment and Frances O’Connor. That film opens June 29.
ON FULL BOYLE: Col’s seven-figure buy of the Anthony Bagarozzi and Charles Mondry drama “Tick-Tock” has made the film a priority project for the studio. Dish hears the studio’s wooing “Trainspotting” helmer Danny Boyle to direct the pic about an amnesiac who awakens in FBI custody as the prime suspect in a series of L.A. bombings.