EXCLUSIVE: Their first picture together, Eat Pray Love, based on the Elizabeth Gilbert bestseller, isn’t in theaters this summer until August 13th so Sony Pictures doesn’t know how it will fare yet. Nevertheless, the studio just made one of the year’s biggest pitch deals, paying Glee co-creator/executive producer Ryan Murphy $2.5 million to write an untitled star vehicle for Julia Roberts, and another $2.5 million to direct it. CAA made Murphy’s $5M deal.
In the romantic comedy, Julia will play a working woman married to a stay-at-home husband. She loses her job, their roles are reversed, and she has to adjust to motherhood. Plan B’s Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner will produce with Murphy. Pitt and Gardner also produced Eat Pray Love in which Murphy directed Roberts. That pic was put in turnaround by Paramount with Julia Roberts attached, then picked up by Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal who paid Julia $10M to play a woman who walks away from her marriage to travel the world and find herself.
I hear Pascal made this new deal because Murphy and Roberts worked so well together, and because Pascal likes what she has in Eat Pray Love even though it’s a one-quadrant movie (older females). Murphy returns to Glee but will start writing soon in hopes of putting the new picture in production next year when he has an “out” in his TV contract enabling him to direct a film. I’ve previously reported that Murphy is also on the short list of filmmakers who’ve met for the movie adaptation of the hit stage musical Wicked. Busy guy.