PiVotal focuses on femme books

Penny Vincenzi's bestsellers to be adapted

LONDON A U.K. production company launched this week enters the market with an unusually tight focus.

London-based start-up PiVotal Pictures will be devoted specifically to adapting the femme-skewed tomes of Brit bestselling author Penny Vincenzi, hence the capital P and V in the name.

PiVotal is the brainchild of Carolynne Wyper, an agent for film and TV composers and a fan of Vincenzi’s books. Wyper has enlisted the support of producers Liz Trubridge and Richard Price, a former chairman of BAFTA, to launch PiVotal.

Shingle bows with a bigscreen version of Vincenzi’s “Windfall,” which has been adapted by Sharman Macdonald.

The 1930s-set period piece is about a woman who is unexpectedly left a fortune by her godmother and starts to question her traditional marriage to a doctor, her past, her present and her future. PiVotal is in talks with director John Madden on the privately financed project which is tentatively budgeted at $25 million-$30 million.

“I’ve been a huge fan of Penny’s work for years and longed to see her stories transferred to the bigscreen. PiVotal Pictures was born out of my love for Penny’s great stories, and Liz and Richard’s industry knowledge and expertise in unlocking blockbuster potential,” says Wyper, who describes Vincenzi’s tomes as “perfect summer holiday books.”

Wyper, an ex-publicist, approached Vincenzidirectly — “being an agent, I know only too well how going through agents can hold things up!” — and the two immediately hit it off over a shared “no-nonsense, no-bullshit” attitude. The result; PiVotal has film and TV deals in place to make six of Vincenzi’s books.

Launching a company as the economy seemingly careers toward meltdown is a brash move but she is utterly convinced of the bigscreen appeal of Vincenzi’s works.

“Penny creates fantastic characters you can immediately identify with,” she says, “The core audience is women, the ‘Sex and the City’ crowd.”

According to Wyper, there is something there for men too. She points out that Price was approached as an investor but quickly became a co-director after reading Vincenzi for the first time.

Vincenzi began her career as a secretary at women’s mags before writing for British daily newspapers.

She published her first book “Old Sins” in 1989 and since then her 13 novels have sold 7 million copies worldwide. So far, none of her books have been adapted but that could all be about to change if PiVotal kicks into gear as planned.

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