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‘The Imitation Game’ Producer Black Bear Options ‘Exciting Times’

'The Imitation Game' Producer Black Bear
Black Bear Pictures

Black Bear Pictures, whose credits include “The Imitation Game,” “Mudbound” and “Suburbicon,” has optioned the rights to Irish writer Naoise Dolan’s debut novel “Exciting Times,” which has received critical plaudits after its U.K. release, and is published in the U.S. on Tuesday.

Black Bear Television, a division of Black Bear Pictures, will develop and produce “Exciting Times” as a premium television series.

Critics have compared Dolan to literary sensation Sally Rooney, the author of the celebrated best-selling novel “Normal People,” recently adapted as a hit TV series. In its review, Vogue said “Exciting Times” was: “Half Sally Rooney love triangle, half glitzy ‘Crazy Rich Asian’ high-living and guaranteed to please.” Time’s reviewer said: “Dolan crafts sharp commentary on the intersection of longing, class and power.”

Black Bear described the book as “dryly funny and heartbreakingly raw,” and “thrillingly attuned to the great freedoms and greater uncertainties of modern love.”

“Exciting Times” follows the liaisons of Ava, newly arrived in Hong Kong from Dublin, who spends her days teaching English to rich children. Julian is a banker. A banker who likes to spend money on Ava, to have sex and discuss fluctuating currencies with her. But when she asks whether he loves her, he cannot say more than “I like you a great deal.”

Enter Edith, a lawyer. Refreshingly enthusiastic and unapologetically earnest, Edith takes Ava to the theater when Julian leaves Hong Kong for work. Quickly, she becomes something Ava looks forward to. And then Julian writes to tell Ava he is coming back to Hong Kong.

Black Bear’s president and CEO Teddy Schwarzman, Ben Stillman and Michael Heimler will executive produce alongside Dolan.

Schwarzman praised Dolan’s “honest, wry, and intelligent prose, and her ability to depict remarkably complex yet utterly relatable characters.”

Dolan said: “I think my love of dialogue is clear from the book, so I’m thrilled to partner with Black Bear to bring the characters to a TV audience, and even more so to be involved as an executive producer.

The deal was brokered by Nicky Lund of David Higham Associates, on behalf of Dolan.