EXCLUSIVE: The wild success of the French film Intouchables and the specter of an English-language remake by The Weinstein Company has sparked Atria Books to secure English-language rights to publish the memoir on which the film is based. Atria will publish Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s Le Second Souffle (The Second Wind) next year after acquiring world English-language rights.
The book was first published in France 10 years ago, and a revised edition has become the top-selling nonfiction book in France. The film has sold 14 million tickets in France and is on track to become one of the country’s biggest hits. Philippe was left a quadriplegic after a paragliding accident, which transformed him from an aristocratic business and social leader into a helpless, tragic figure. With the help of an unlikely caregiver — an unemployed, hot-headed and uninhibited Algerian immigrant who turned out to be as lonely and lost as his employer — Philippe was able to return to the world of the living. Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy sent the book to Atria after her husband saw a story about the film’s success on French TV, Atria VP/editorial director Peter Borland read it and Atria acquired world English-language rights from French publisher Bayard. Writers House repped Bayard.