Universal Pictures has optioned “Uncanny Valley,” a memoir about life in the tech bubble, Variety has learned. The studio snagged the rights to the unpublished book in a highly competitive bidding situation, one that drew interest from several suitors.
Michael De Luca, the man behind the “Fifty Shades” trilogy, and Elizabeth Banks and Max Handelman, the duo responsible for the “Pitch Perfect” franchise, are set to produce the picture through their Universal-based Michael De Luca Productions and Brownstone Productions, respectively.
“Uncanny Valley” originally started life as a 2016 essay in n+1 magazine from author Anna Wiener. It detailed her life at a startup on its last gasps, as the workers grapple with their IPO dreams evaporating and dust off resumes. The novel version of that initial post is said to deal with Weiner’s transition from the world of publishing to Silicon Valley life. The book is tentatively set to be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in early 2019. Weiner will serve as an executive producer on the film.
In addition to his work on the popular “Fifty Shades” films, De Luca is an Oscar nominee for “The Social Network” and “Moneyball.” Banks is a successful actress, as well as an accomplished director and producer, having starred in the likes of “Love & Mercy” and “Seabiscuit.”
Alison Small, senior VP of production at Brownstone, brought the project to the company and will oversee its development. The company just released “Pitch Perfect 3,” which has grossed $101.8 million globally since opening in December. It is set to produce a reboot of “Charlie’s Angels” at Sony which Banks will direct. That film is eyeing Lupita Nyong’o and Kristen Stewart for lead roles.
Universal’s Director of Development Chloe Yellin will oversee production for the studio. Johnny Pariseau is overseeing for Michael De Luca Productions.
Brownstone Productions is represented by UTA, Untitled Entertainment, Ziffren Brittenham LLP and Relevant PR. De Luca is represented by CAA and Strategy PR. Wiener is represented by Chris Parris-Lamb at Gernert Company and UTA.