OddLot Wins Heated Auction for ‘Septillion to One’; Alexander Payne Circling to Direct (Exclusive)

Tom McNulty and Linda McDonough are producing the film, which is inspired by a four-time lottery winner

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OddLot Entertainment has won a heated auction for rights to Adam R. Perlman and Graham Sack’s spec script “Septillion to One,” which has Alexander Payne circling to direct, TheWrap has learned.

OddLot will produce and finance the romantic comedy, which the company intends to fast-track as its slate is thin and the deal featured aggressive progress-to-production language.

Tom McNulty will produce through his MC2 banner along with Linda McDonough of Marquee Entertainment and OddLot’s Gigi Pritzker.

Payne is not officially attached to direct at this time but the story has drawn his interest, according to multiple sources. Scheduling may prove to be an issue for Payne, who is also slated to direct Matt Damon and Reese Witherspoon in “Downsizing.” OddLot had no comment regarding his potential involvement.

“Septillion to One” is inspired by the true story of Joan Ginther, who won the Texas State Lottery four times, taking home more than $20 million thanks in part to a PhD in statistics from Stanford.

Described as a cross between “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Ocean’s 11,” the film focuses on an overzealous former FBI agent who has been relegated to the fraud unit of the Texas State Lottery. He begins investigating a beautiful and shrewd woman who had inexplicably defied all odds and hit the lottery jackpot three times. He realizes the odds are over one in a billion for this to happen, creating a game of cat-and-mouse with the suspect, with whom he ultimately falls head over heels in love.

McNulty spent more than two years developing the script, and Wednesday’s sale was a major triumph considering how rare it is to sell a spec with no attachments these days.

“Linda and Tom brought us this contemporary romantic comedy that kept us riveted and entertained until the end,” said OddLot’s Pritzker. “This is a smart script, based on a true story out of Texas, has commercial viability with a slew of A-list talent and directors already interested.”

OddLot’s co-president Michael Nathanson and executive VP of production Rachel Shane will supervise and oversee the project, while OddLot’s co-president Bill Lischak negotiated the deal on behalf of the company.

Payne has won two adapted screenwriting Oscars for “Sideways” and “The Descendants.” He was also nominated for directing his most recent film, the black-and-white gem “Nebraska.” He’s represented by CAA and attorney John Diemer.

McNulty produced the critically acclaimed indie “The Spectacular Now” starring Shailene Woodley and Miles Teller. He is developing “Spacesuit” at Warner Bros. and packaging the Black List script “Beef” with McDonough. McNulty is represented by attorney Jeff Frankel.

Represented by the Gersh Agency, Perlman and Sack are relative newcomers, though Perlman has written for “The Newsroom” and “State of Affairs.”

OddLot’s recent releases include “Ender’s Game,” “Drive” and “The Way Way Back.”