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‘White Noise’ Producer Uri Singer Nabs Rights to Vladimir Nabokov’s ‘Invitation to a Beheading’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Vladimir Nabokov
AP

Uri Singer has obtained the rights “Invitation to a Beheading,” a surrealist and politically charged work by Vladimir Nabokov, the author of “Lolita.”

Singer has been carving out a niche for himself by developing literary classics into potential films. He recently obtained the rights to Kurt Vonnegut’s “Hocus Pocus” and Don DeLillo’s “The Silence.” He is also producing another DeLillo adaptation “White Noise,” which is currently filming with Noah Baumbach directing Adam Driver and Greta Gerwig. Singer is also producing “The King of Oil,” set at Universal, with John Krasinski’s Sunday Night, with Matt Damon attached to play the lead role based on the book “The King of Oil” by Daniel Amman, adapted by Joe Shrapnel and Anne Waterhouse.

“Invitation to a Beheading” embodies a vision of a bizarre and irrational world. In an unnamed dream country, the young man Cincinnatus C. is condemned to death by beheading for an imaginary crime that defies definition. Cincinnatus spends his last days in an absurd jail, where he is visited by chimerical jailers, an executioner who masquerades as a fellow prisoner, and by his in-laws, who lug their furniture with them into his cell.

Other Nabokov novels have made their way to screens in the past, with the likes of Stanley Kubrick and Adrian Lyne adapting “Lolita” and filmmakers like Tony Richardson (“Laughter in the Dark” and Rainer Werner Fassbinder (“Despair”) putting their spins on the author’s works.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to adapt ‘Invitation to a Beheading.’ Nabokov once said that out of all his books, while he had the greatest affection for Lolita, he held ‘Invitation to a Beheading’ in the highest esteem,” Singer said. “Nabokov is one of the most famous and notorious writers of the 20th century, and I think ‘Invitation to a Beheading’ is an extraordinary opportunity to adapt a unique literary masterpiece to the screen. We consider this to be like ‘Joker’ in reverse, where a mundane protagonist is surrounded by an illogical world.”

Singer said he is in the process of identifying a director for the movie. The rights to the novel were obtained from Andrew Wylie at the Wylie Agency, who reps Nabokov’s estate.

Singer is repped by Carissa Knol at Knol Law PC. His other producing credits include the Ethan Hawke-led “Tesla” and “Marjorie Prime” starring Geena Davis and Jon Hamm.