Leslie K. Barry’s upcoming novel “Newark Minutemen” has been optioned by Fulwell 73, the independent production company behind “The Late Late Show with James Corden.” John Niven and Nick Ball are attached to pen the screenplay.
“Newark Minutemen” is based on an incredible true story. It centers on a Jewish boxer who goes undercover for the mob and FBI to fight fascism in New Jersey during the Great Depression. His mission takes place as a substantial portion of the American public was pushing neutrality as Hitler consolidated power in Europe. In this chaotic time, he joins the Newark Minutemen, a band of other Jewish boxers, who rose up to fight a Nazi shadow party that was emerging in the States. The novel is based on the real-life experiences of author Leslie K. Barry’s uncle, a Newark Minuteman boxer, and was pieced together from first-hand accounts from her 93-year old mother and her cousin, FBI reports, boxes of undercover source material and years of research.
“Newark Minutemen” will be released in paperback by Morgan James Publishing on October 6, 2020. Fulwell 73’s Leo Pearlman led on the acquisition and will executive produce the feature film.
“’Newark Minutemen’ is an epic story of battles, boxers and mafia, overlaid with an explosive love affair that compares with the classic star-crossed stories from Casablanca to Titanic,” said Pearlman. “This would be an important story to tell at any time in history, but right now, with the lessons we can learn from the past, it is an essential one that everyone should see.”
Barry said she sold Fulwell 73 the rights to the film because Pearlman connected to the material on a personal level.
“When we were talking about the novel, Leo and I started sharing stories about our grandmothers and their plights in London and America,” said Barry. “He understood the story and its importance on a level that made me trust his sensibility.”
Niven wrote the screenplays for “How to Build a Girl” and “Kill Your Friends,” the latter of which was based on his novel. Niven and Ball previously worked together as screenwriters on “Cat Run,” starring Paz Vega.
Barry is a screenwriter, author and executive producer, who has worked at Turner Broadcasting, Hasbro/Parker Brothers, Mattel, Mindscape Video Games, Lotus and AOL.
Pearlman recently served as an executive producer on “Auschwitz Untold: In Colour,” the acclaimed Channel 4 documentary which featured newly colorized footage taken in Nazi concentration camps alongside brand new testimony from Holocaust survivors. Fulwell 73 produced the documentary.
Fulwell 73’s future projects include the upcoming “Friends” reunion and “Cinderella” starring Camila Cabello, Idina Menzel, Billy Porter, and Pierce Brosnan.
In March 2017 James Corden joined the company as a fifth full partner alongside Pearlman, brothers Gabe and Ben Turner, and Ben Winston.
Niven and Ball are repped by Artists First.