EXCLUSIVE: Ti West (The Innkeeper) has been set to write the Bedbugs script by Tango Pictures, a new production venture created by producers Christina Lurie, Steven Shainberg, and Andrew Lazar. Tango acquired film rights to the Ben H. Winters’ bestselling horror novel. The deal marks one of the first made by former longtime CAA agent Shari Smiley since she formed The Smiley Group LLC after leaving the agency late last year. She worked with Quirk Books (which will get an executive producer credit) and lit agency Joelle Delbourgo Associates. Quirk published the book last year and Winters’ next novel, The Last Policeman, will debut in July.
The book features a premise that is all too relatable to anyone who travels to a major city like Manhattan or Toronto and turns over the mattress to see if anything is crawling as bedbug infestations become more common each year. Bedbugs is a tale of urban paranoia set in Brooklyn that follows the Wendt family as they move in to a new home and suddenly start to encounter strange occurrences. Susan Wendt begins suffering what she suspects are bedbug bites, but she’s the only one getting bitten and suddenly fears she may be going crazy. That’s until she’s confronted with a more menacing explanation for the strange things happening to her and the family.
Said Quirk associate publisher and creative director Jason Rekulak: “Reading Bedbugs as a manuscript felt like the literary equivalent of a Ti West horror movie—a slow-burning supernatural story with fully realized characters, light on gore but heavy on menace and dread.”