Universal has optioned the rights to “Long Way Down,” beating out several other studios for the chance to make a movie based on the best-selling novel.
As part of the package, Michael De Luca will produce alongside John Legend for their respective banners, Michael De Luca Productions and Get Lifted Film Co. Jason Reynolds’ book, which has an unusual premise, was a hit with young adult readers. The story takes place in 60 seconds, as a young man struggles to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother. Another dash of unorthodoxy: the book unspools in free verse and is set in an elevator. “Long Way Down” was a finalist for the National Book Award.
De Luca is an Oscar nominee whose credits include the “Fifty Shades” trilogy, “The Social Network,” and “Moneyball.” Legend is best known for his work as a singer and songwriter, but he has also racked up some major film credits, appearing in the likes of “La La Land” and “Soul Men,” and winning the Academy Award for best original song in 2015 for writing “Glory” from the film “Selma.” Reynolds’ novels include “All American Boy” and “As Brave as You.”
Universal Vice President of Production Sara Scott will oversee production for the studio, while Lucy Kitada will handle the picture for Michael De Luca Productions.
In addition to Legend and De Luca, Mike Jackson will produce and Ty Stiklorius will executive produce for their Get Lifted Film Co. banner.
Reynolds is represented by Jason Dravis at The Dravis Agency and Elena Giovinazzo of
Pippin Properties, Inc. De Luca is represented by CAA and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown. Legend is represented by WME, Friends at Work, and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano. Get Lifted Film Co. is represented by WME and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.