Witherspoon has acquired the films rights to Harper’s debut novel, set amidst an epic drought in which a farmer turns his gun on his family and then himself in a rural community — prompting the return of an investigator who was the farmer’s childhood friend and left town after being rejected by the community.
Harper is a business writer for the Herald Sun newspaper in Melbourne. Her book won the $15,000 Victorian Premier Literary Award for An Unpublished Manuscript earlier this year.
Witherspoon will team with partner Bruna Papandrea at their Pacific Standard banner. The duo formed Pacific Standard in 2012 in order to remedy the absence of movies with female protagonists.
Since then, they have actively acquired film rights to novels and produced “Wild” and “Gone Girl.” Pacific Standard is currently developing Gayle Tzemach Lemmon’s “Ashley’s War” at Fox 2000, “Big Little Lies,” “The Engagements,” “Pennyroyal’s Princess Boot Camp,” “The Outliers,” Wendy Walker’s “All Is Not Forgotten,” Ruth Ware’s “In a Dark, Dark Wood” and Garth Callaghan’s “Napkin Notes.”
Witherspoon is handled by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush and Kaller. Harper is repped by Intellectual Property Group’s Jerry Kalajian and Clare Forster at Curtis Brown Australia and Writers House’s Daniel Lazar.
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The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.