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‘Hearts Made of Black’ Movie in the Works at Fox With ‘Divergent’ Producer

Twentieth Century Fox has bought the movie rights to debut Stephanie Garber’s upcoming fantasy novel “Hearts Made of Black” and set up the project with “Divergent” producer Pouya Shahbazian, Variety has learned exclusively.

“Hearts Made of Black” is a young adult story that follows two sisters.

Flatiron Books won a heated auction for the publishing rights among nearly every major publisher in a major two-book deal. Translation rights have already been preempted in the U.K. by Hodder in a six-figure deal, with a great deal of interest and potentially pending deals in other territories including active bids in France and Spain.

The publishing bidding war closed Friday morning and Fox preemptively purchased the film rights within 10 hours, with literary scouts Drew Reed and Zander Bauman of Fox’s New York scouting office flagging the book.

Kira Goldberg will shepherd the project for Fox.

Shahbazian will produce through his New Leaf Literary and Media banner. He has two films currently in production — Andrea Arnold’s “American Honey,” starring Shia LaBeouf, and the third installment of Lionsgate’s Divergent franchise, “The Divergent Series: Allegiant.” The first two “Divergent” films have grossed nearly $600 million worldwide combined.

Shahbazian is also developing “Red Queen” at Universal, with Elizabeth Banks in talks to produce and direct; “The Selection” at Warner Bros., with Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan also producing; Sony Pictures’ “Apollo Rising,” based on a spec script by Victoria Aveyard; and Warner Bros.’ adaptation of Ben Sanders’ upcoming “American Blood,” with Andrew Sodroski adapting and Bradley Cooper attached to star and produce.

Garber teaches creative writing at William Jessup University in California and recently started as a blogger on Pub(lishing) Crawl.

The Fox deal for “Hearts Made of Black” was negotiated by Jenny Bent of the Bent Agency, Shahbazian and attorney Karl Austen of Jackoway Tyerman.

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