“GENERATION X” AUTHOR Douglas Coupland has sold “Mom’s Cookies,” his first spec script to Disney.
Studio bought “Cookies” for mid six figures. Coupland wrote the script with computer game designer Ian Verchere.
Story concerns two suburban teenagers who descend into the world of computer gaming to rescue one of their mothers whose life has been taken over by the Web.
The story had its roots in real life, says Coupland. “The whole idea came out of watching my own mother who was essentially Internet-paranoid until a year and a half ago, when she crumbled and went on-line and became an entirely new person. She changed her friends and the way she thinks, and she now buys all of her clothes at the Gap.”
Project unites twin themes of Coupland’s work — family life and the Zeitgeist. The author is currently in the midst of a book tour for his novel, “All Families are Psychotic,” a story about a Space Shuttle astronaut and her dysfunctional family, which Bloomsbury published on Sept. 11, but has since relaunched.
“All Families are Psychotic” was optioned by Michael Stipe’s Single Cell Pictures.
Disney veep Jeffrey Clifford brought “Cookies” to Disney and will oversee production with prexy Nina Jacobson.
SIEGEL STYLE: Michael Siegel & Associates has played an active role in Coupland’s Hollywood career. The company, launched 18 months ago, following Siegel’s departure from Brillstein-Grey, brokered the deals for “Psychotic” and “Cookies,” and Siegel and Priscilla Cohen, who came aboard as a lit manager a year ago, are attached to produce “Cookies.”
The management company is founded on some of the same principles as Brillstein-Grey — Siegel and Cohen have a small list of well recognized clients, focus equally on front and backlist books, and shepherd many of their deals through the production process.
But the duo emphasize that while some small management companies guard their turf, they’re careful not to attach themselves as producers in every deal. Siegel is producing Elmore Leonard’s “Tishomingo Blues” at Film Four, but not another Leonard novel, “Pagan Babies,” that’s set up at Jersey/Universal. And Siegel and Cohen are not attached to “Psychotic.”
“You produce when they’re upset you’re not producing,” says Siegel.
The shop has been prolific, setting up such projects as Philip Roth’s “The Human Stain” at Lakeshore and a “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” remake as a Warner Bros. tentpole, but Siegel says the Hollywood book trade has shifted since the 1990s, when he was an agent at CAA, then a manager at Brillstein-Grey, when quick, mega-bucks deals were commonplace.
“Options have gone down, but book purchase prices have not,” he says.
“The challenge is not to throw a lot of books out there and see what gets turned into a movie,” says Siegel. “It’s about careful, strategic placement.”
FRANKFURT FLAIR: Despite a security clampdown and a rash of American cancellations, the Frankfurt Book Fair began gathering steam even before it officially opened Tuesday.
International titles often get the most attention at Frankfurt, and agents were clamoring for rights to an array of new manuscripts.
Agent Sandy Dijkstra was selling a Korean novel, “In Full Bloom” by Carolyn Hwang; Carlisle and Co. was shopping “The Piano Tuner,” a novel set in 19th century London and Burma, by Daniel Phillipe Mason — Knopf recently bought it in a $1 million, two-book deal — and Susanna Lea, the French agent behind Mark Levy, whose “If Only It Were True” was Frankfurt’s buzz book two years ago, was shopping a memoir by a young Afgan.
The exhibition halls open today and security at the American building will be especially tight. That means the sprawling fair – which takes upwards of a half-hour to traverse under normal circumstances – could be painstakingly hard to navigate. And German Chancellor Gearhart Schroeder, who was scheduled to preside over the Fair’s opening Tuesday, flew to Washington instead to meet with President Bush.
EDITING CHANGES: Two of New York’s best known editors — Random House’s Daniel Menaker and Putnam’s Stacy Creamer — are playing musical chairs.
Menaker, a six year vet of Random House — following 26 years at the New Yorker — has become exec editor of HarperCollins. Menaker’s wide ranging fiction list at Random included such titles as “Primary Colors” and “Amy and Isabelle.”
And Creamer, a protege of recently departed Putnam chief Phyllis Grann, ankled to be exec editor at Doubleday Broadway. Creamer is well known for her line of sports books, including a bestseller by Tour de France star Lance Armstrong.