Wattpad, a global multiplatform entertainment company known for its digital novels and data insights, is expanding into film development and will finance two new film projects, including one from “Children of Men” writer David Arata and another from Angela LaManna, a co-producer on Netflix’s “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” the company announced Thursday.
Founded in 2006, Wattpad allows users to write, post and read short, text-based novels. Readers can engage with the content by commenting on the novel or “liking” specific paragraphs. This data is then used by the company to identify emerging trends within the platform — such as what type of content is being written about and engaged with the most. The company then uses this information to help studios create video content, with Sony Pictures Television, Hulu and more having all used the data. Currently, the company has 50 different TV and film projects in development with studios around the world.
This latest move to now finance the early development of film and TV projects is a way for Wattpad to develop their own content utilizing their own data-backed insights.
The two projects are “The Hound” and “What Happened That Night,” both of which were published as novels by Wattpad.
Arata will adapt “What Happened That Night,” based on Deanna Cameron’s book from 2019 that has seen 1.5 million reads on the service, and Wattpad will also publish her next book, “Homewrecker,” in 2021. “What Happened That Night” follows a woman named Clara after her boyfriend is murdered by her sister. The act sets Clara down a path that she would have preferred to forget, and in a desperate race to absolve her sister’s name, Clara advances ever closer to the dangerous secret of what really happened that night.
“‘What Happened That Night’ is a compelling combination of mystery, thriller and coming-of-age story,” Arata said in a statement. “Its nuanced portrait of a traumatized teenage girl struggling to uncover the truth represents an eloquent testament to the resilience of the human spirit. My job as a screenwriter will be to try to do justice to the book.”
LaManna will then adapt T.L. Bodine’s “The Hound,” which has more than 100,000 reads on Wattpad and won a Watty Award in 2018. In “The Hound,” antique store owner Liz brings home a Victorian taxidermy hound from auction, unwittingly unleashing dark forces on her wife and son. A series of strange and frightening occurrences begin to tear at the edges of a family under strain–tempting Liz to destroy the ones she loves.
“‘The Hound’ is an incredible narrative that combines the best elements of suspense and horror with a powerful story about a woman struggling to keep her family safe in the face of dark forces,” LaManna said in a statement. “I can’t wait to work with Wattpad to bring this story to screens everywhere.”
Wattpad Studios’ Aron Levitz, Eric Lehrman and Lindsey Ramey will produce the projects.
“Millions of people around the world have been inspired by the amazing, diverse stories and storytellers on Wattpad,” Aron Levitz, head of Wattpad Studios, said in a statement. “‘The Hound’ and ‘What Happened That Night’ are two marvelous examples of high-quality storytelling that has captivated readers everywhere, while also tapping into cultural trends demanding more representation for women and marginalized communities. With these new film projects, we’re expanding our investment in early stage development, adapting incredible stories for new formats and helping them find new fans everywhere.”
Arata’s recent credits include a rewrite of Netflix’s “The Angel” and the sci-fi film “Inversion,” currently in pre-production.
LaManna is the co-producer of “The Haunting of Bly Manor,” the second season of the Netflix horror series “The Haunting of Hill House.” Her credits also include the upcoming Netflix limited series “Behind Her Eyes,” “The Punisher” series, Syfy’s “Channel Zero” and NBC’s “Hannibal.”