Nichols gets the ‘Skinny’

Book just debuted at No. 3 on N.Y. Times bestseller lists

Using his own coin, Mike Nichols has bought screen rights to “Skinny Dip,” the new novel by Carl Hiaasen, and intends to direct and produce the adaptation.

“Skinny Dip” just debuted in the No. 3 slot on the New York Times bestseller lists.

In the book, Hiaasen, a columnist for the Miami Herald, again finds comedy and mystery in South Florida, the setting of his past books, including “Strip Tease.”

His new story is about a crooked bureaucrat/biologist in danger of losing his lucrative business when his wife finds out about his pollution scam. So he tosses her off the back of a cruise liner, far out in the Atlantic. Unfortunately for him, his curvy wife is surprisingly buoyant, and floats on a bale of marijuana until she is rescued by an ex-cop.

“It has a great plot and terrific characters,” Nichols said. “It’s driven by rage at politicians who ruin the environment for profit.”

Nichols is prepping a December release of “Closer,” the Columbia adaptation of the Patrick Marber play. Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Clive Owen star.

Nichols will look for a writer to adapt “Skinny Dip” as he prepares to return to the stage to direct “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” a comedy based on the 1975 pic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The tuner, which stars Tim Curry, David Hyde Pierce and Hank Azaria, opens first in Chicago and hits Broadway in February.

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