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Warners acquires novel ‘Defending Jacob’

Legal drama set up at Mary Parent's Disruption banner

Warner Bros. is acquiring feature rights to William Landay’s legal drama “Defending Jacob” and has set it with Mary Parent’s Disruption Entertainment.

“Jacob,” published last month, centers on an assistant district attorney in suburban Massachusetts when a shocking crime shatters the New England town and his 14-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student. The novel has sold in 19 countries to date, and the U.K. will be the first foreign territory to publish on March 15.

Landay is a former district attorney who lives in Boston and attended Boston College Law School as well as Yale. “Defending Jacob” debuted in fourth place on the New York Times Bestellers list for hardcover fiction on the week of Feb. 19 an remains in the top 10 for print and Ebooks.

Disruption has been ramping up business for the past year since Parent set up the Par-based banner in February, 2011. Parent came on last summer as a producer on “Pacific Rim,” the robots vs. monsters actioner that Guillermo del Toro is helming for Legendary and will produce with Legendary’s Thomas Tull, Jon Jashni and Guillermo del Toro.

Disrpution is also developing sci-fier “Hyperdrive,” “The Watching Hour” at New Line with Mad Hatter and an adaptation of the DC Comic series “The Mighty” with Benderspink.

Lynn Harris is the Warner exec on “Defending Jacob.” Hotchkiss and Associates and The Martell Agency repped the feature rights.

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