Warner Bros. is the frontrunner to acquire feature rights to Donna Tartt‘s bestselling novel “The Goldfinch,” multiple individuals familiar with the project have told TheWrap.
Warner Bros. had no comment.
Warners has made a competitive offer, though the studio is not in active negotiations yet for the rights, which aren’t expected to come easy — Tartt is seeking to be involved in creative decisions, just as E L James was closely involved with the development and production of Universal and Focus’ adaptation of “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The Dickensian adventure story, which takes place over two decades, follows a boy whose mother dies in a museum bombing. He survives the tragedy and steals Fabritius’ famous painting “The Goldfinch.” Eventually, he’s taken in by a wealthy Manhattan family, and years later, reunites with his alcoholic father, who takes him to Las Vegas as he tries to unravel a mystery.
While Tartt’s representatives at ICM Partners initially shopped “The Goldfinch” to networks and studios as a possible miniseries, Warner Bros. execs believe the material is well-suited for a potential feature. If Tartt doesn’t like the direction that future feature development is going, the project can always be reconfigured for television.
Nina Jacobson (“The Hunger Games”) will produce “The Goldfinch” under her Color Force banner. [Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story erroneously stated that Jacobson’s deal hadn’t closed and she wasn’t involved with the project.]
Tartt’s previous books include “The Secret History” and “The Little Friend.” With more than 5 million copies sold, “Secret History” had its film rights acquired by Warner Bros. prior to publication, and years later, the studio partnered with Miramax and enlisted Gwyneth Paltrow to co-produce with her brother, Jake Paltrow.
None of Tartt’s novels have been adapted for film or TV yet, but “The Goldfinch” has piqued Hollywood’s interest since its publication in the fall of 2013, when the New York Times Book Review called “The Goldfinch” one of the 10 best novels of the year.