The Write Stuff: ‘Shutterbabe’ zooms in

Anklings shake East Coast lit; Sorkin talks drugs in H'w'd

NEW YORK — Deborah Copaken Kogan, whose life as sex kittenish photojournalist was the subject of a recent memoir, “Shutterbabe,” will see her story splashed across the bigscren by the man who brought “Sex and the City” to HBO.

Darren Star has optioned Kogan’s memoir, “Shutterbabe: Adventures in Love and War” to develop as a feature. He’ll also write the script and plans to make it his directorial debut as a feature helmer.

Out from Villard, “Shutterbabe” tells of Kogan’s career as a photo correspondent freelancing her way through war zones from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, collecting lovers at every turn.

Star and Kogan, the author found out in their first development meeting, both attended Winston Churchill high school in Potomac, Md. “I feel like he knows from whence I came,” Kogan said.

“When we first met to talk about it, he was thinking of fictionalizing parts of it. I would daresay I even prefer that. It would be easier to see your life fictionalized.”

Kogan is currently writing a novel that’s not under contract, which she says “will have some international elements, but is based on one evening in a fictionalized country club in Potomac.”

Though the film deal for “Shutterbabe” was brokered by CAA, it’s a feat of packaging for WMA, which reps Kogan for book rights. Star recently joined WMA.

FIVE YEARS AGO, most of the studios had an East Coast lit outpost prospecting for books, plays, magazine stories and other material for the bigscreen.

Today those ranks have thinned, but several players remain, among them Paramount, Tribeca, Further Films, Scott Rudin Prods., Laura Ziskin Prods., Wendy Finerman Prods. and AMG.

But it’s still a small enough world that a major personel change at one of these shingles can set off a chain reaction at other shops. That’s what happened recently when Drew Reed ankled AMG and David Stefanou ankled Wendy Finerman Prods., virtually simultaneously.

In short order, AMG installed Lisa Hamilton as its New York lit liaison (Hamilton comes from the LA office of AMG/Renaissance). And Wendy Finerman has just hired Reed as her new veep of production.

Reed has worked his way through the New York scouting world, having served as director of development at both Columbia-Tristar Pictures in New York and Scott Rudin Prods.

Finerman (“Forrest Gump,” “Stepmom”), who has a first-look deal with Fox 2000, is currently developing “Drumline,” a comedy about a street drummer from Harlem that Charles Stone III will helm.

“For several years, Drew and I have been looking for the opportunity to work together,” Finerman said. “Drew’s presence will be critical to our efforts and many of the projects we have in development are based on books or other source material generated from New York.”

THE MEMOIRS OF FORMER Jane’s Addiction guitarist Dave Navarro, which were scheduled to roll off the presses a few weeks back, are in limbo.

“Don’t Try This At Home,” is Navarro’s jaw-droppingly candid account of a year of drugs and decadence, full of snapshots taken from a photo booth he installed in his Hollywood Hills home. In a typical scene, Navarro ventures into the Orgy Room of the Playboy Mansion and, surrounded by three naked women, takes out a syringe and shoots up. “The mansion has always been somehow holy to me,” he says.

The book was under contact with the Regan Books imprint at HarperCollins, and it was serialized in the July issue of Spin. But days before the book was supposed to be printed, Navarro got cold feet and moved to block publication.

The book’s release was supposed to coincide with the Capital Records recent release of Navarro’s solo album, “Trust No One.” HarperCollins isn’t happy to have lost the free publicity record sales were likely to generate. When publishers shell out for a celebrity memoir, they usually bank on a promotional push from the author, and that’s far from a sure thing in Navarro’s case.

And though Navarro’s publicist, Luke Burland, says the musician plans to re-edit the book, that’s not likely to sit well with HarperCollins. The book’s frankness is a major selling point. And it’s all but printed between hardcovers, so any changes at this stage would be extremely costly.

HarperCollins is now squaring off with Navarro’s lawyers, but declined to say what the upshot will be. “We’re looking at the book and hope to release it as soon as possible,” publicist Paul Oslewski said.

IN TALK MAGAZINE’S SEPTEMBER ISSUE, Aaron Sorkin also offers a candid look at drugs in Hollywood.

In an interview with Michael Cieply – the first installment of a new column, Letter From Hollywood, that will regularly appear in the glossy, Sorkin talks of freebasing cocaine and writing and about his attempts at recovery before and after his recent bust at the Burbank Airport while attempting to board a plane for Las Vegas.

In other magazine news, David Carey has returned to the New Yorker as publisher after several months as head of the Business Information Group at Gruner + Jahr — a magazine unit comprising Inc. and Fast Company. David Kahn, who briefly replaced Carey, has been tapped to run the Conde Nast Image Center, a new division of Advance Publications that will market and sell archival material.

More Voices

  • FX Confronts Streaming Thanks to Disney

    Kicking and Screaming, FX Is Forced to Confront Future in the Stream (Column)

    During his network’s presentation at the winter Television Critics Assn. press tour, FX chief John Landgraf made waves — and headlines — by mounting perhaps his most direct criticism yet of Netflix. Landgraf, whose briefings to the press tend to rely heavily on data about the volume of shows with which FX’s competitors flood the [...]

  • Longtime TV Editor Recalls Working for

    How a Bad Director Can Spoil the Show (Guest Column)

    I have been blessed with editing some of TV’s greatest shows, working with some of the industry’s greatest minds. “The Wonder Years,” “Arrested Development,” “The Office,” “Scrubs,” “Pushing Daisies” and, most recently, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” I have earned an Emmy, ACE Eddie Awards, and many nominations. But whatever kudos I’ve received, over my [...]

  • Stock market Stock buyback

    Stock Buybacks Leave Firms Without Funds to Invest in Future (Column)

    Corporate giants on the S&P 500 have spent more than $720 billion during the past year on stock buybacks. Media and entertainment firms account for only a fraction of that spending, but even $1 million spent on share repurchases seems a foolhardy expenditure at this transformational moment for the industry. The record level of spending [...]

  • 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 [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content