Universal Pictures has acquired “The Dog Walker,” the new novel by former Dell editor-in-chief Leslie Schnur.
The film will be adapted by “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” scribes Kristen Buckley and Brian Regan and produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Type A Films partners Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Simpson.
Since the project is a romantic comedy revolving around a young woman, Witherspoon will get first crack at the title role of a gal who’s laid off from her publishing job and fills in for a pal who walks dogs for the Gotham elite. Gig allows her to snoop through their apartments, observe their lives and figure out what she wants to do with hers.
Since securing a Universal deal in 2002, Type A has lived up to its name by setting up a slew of comedies and dramas. First up for the company will likely be Witherspoon starrer “The Sports Widow,” and the shingle is developing scripts including “The Proposal,” “Whiteout” and “Bunny Lake Is Missing.”
“The Dog Walker,” which hits bookstores next week through Atria, marks the publishing debut of book industry vet Schnur. She ran Dell until Random House merged her imprint with Bantam. “I am the poster girl for changing one’s life and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Schnur said. “I got laid off five years ago this month, and even though I’d edited great writers, I didn’t imagine that writing a book would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.”
Schnur got nowhere until she stumbled upon a woman walking 12 dogs.
“She looked like an ex-con, but this very visual sight got me thinking about having a job like that and seeing peoples’ apartments, to snoop and learn their fantasies and desires,” Schnur said. “It led to this story of a lost woman who finds herself as she realizes that all of these people she fantasized about aren’t at all who she thought they’d be.”