U, Platt triumph in ‘Death’ bid

Tome tells tale of cemetary caretaker

Universal Pictures and producer Marc Platt beat out several buyers for “The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud,” a Ben Sherwood novel to be published by Bantam. Price was mid-six against seven-figures, and the deal calls for Sherwood to exec produce the pic.

Sherwood made his first splash as a novelist with “The Man Who Ate the 747,” an unusual love story. That pic was bought by Warner Bros.-based Bel Air and has nearly made it off the ground with directors like Jon Turteltaub and Charles Shyer.

The new novel is reminiscent of pics like “Ghost” and “Field of Dreams.” The protagonist is a cemetary caretaker who has weekly meetings with a younger brother whose accidental death he feels was his fault. Charlie St. Cloud meets a young woman believed to be missing in a sailing accident, and as he begins a romantic relationship with her, he wonders if she is an apparition on the way to the next life.

Platt, who just produced “Legally Blonde 2,” beat out two other studios to win the property, in a deal brokered by WMA. U’s Donna Langley will supervise.

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