Sony eyes ‘Boy Nobody’ franchise for Jaden Smith

Young adult novel revolves around teenage assassin

Sony Pictures and Overbrook Entertainment are in early talks to acquire pic rights to Allen Zadoff’s novel “Boy Nobody,” with plans to develop it as a starring vehicle for Jaden Smith.

Sources tell Variety that the studio beat out 20th Century Fox for the project and has begun negotiations, although they caution that no deal has yet closed. Overbrook found the property and brought it to Sony, where it has a first-look deal.

“Boy Nobody” is the first in a planned young adult trilogy about a brainwashed teenage assassin who starts to regain his emotions. Little, Brown will publish the novel next spring.

The book’s main character is reminiscent of a teenage Jason Bourne, with Zadoff describing the young protag as a “young soldier trained not to feel; who could function in every situation without fear, sympathy or anger; who could assassinate strangers and then walk away emotionally unscathed.”

Stuart Krichevsky negotiated the book deal and CAA shopped the film rights to Zadoff’s tome, which grew out of the author coping with the death of his mother in 2010. Title attracted plenty of interest when it was recently shopped at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Zadoff’s most recent book is “My Life, the Theater, and Other Tragedies.”

Smith, who previously starred in Sony’s “The Karate Kid” reboot” and “The Pursuit of Happyness,” as well as 20th Century Fox’s remake of “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” He’s now filming M. Night Shyamalan’s Sony pic “After Earth” with his father, Will.

Smith is repped by WME.