Playtone revs ‘Starter’ by first-time novelist

Villard struck multibook deal for novel

Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman have optioned U.K. TV writer David Nicholls’ first novel, “Starter for Ten.” Nicholls will pen the script.

“Starter” is the humorous story of a working-class student who stumbles romantically and academically through his first year at a posh private university in England.

The Random House publishing imprint Villard recently bought the novel as part of a multibook deal worth more than $500,000. Project came to Playtone from New York book scout Nan Shipley.

Playtone, which has a first-look deal at Universal, acquired the project using discretionary funds. It’s not yet clear if it will land at U.

Nicholls, who wrote the U.K. TV skein “Cold Feet” is repped by CAA and ICM U.K.

Playtone is currently in post on “Polar Express,” the Robert Zemeckis pic it is co-producing with Image Movers and Golden Mean. Shingle is also prepping an animated feature, “The Ant Bully,” at Warner Bros.