EXCLUSIVE: Using his own money, Matthew Vaughn has optioned Lexicon, the new thriller novel by Max Barry that will be published next year by Penguin in the U.S. and Mulholland in the UK. Vaughn is writing the script to direct.

Barry’s novels include Jennifer Government, Company and Machine. In Lexicon, the setting is contemporary but in a world where words are potentially lethal weapons–tools for persuading others to do what you want–which are wielded by members of a secret, ancient, global organization of people with an aptitude for persuasion in general. Their most gifted and troubled member, a young woman, breaks the society’s primary rule and falls in love.

Vaughn is coming off X-Men: First Class and is working on a sequel which Fox has on a fast track. He’s also producing a sequel to his film Kick-Ass, which will be directed by Jeff Wadlow and became real when Universal signed on. That’s plenty of action. This deal came about when Barry’s agents at Janklow & Nesbit Associates sent an advance copy of the book only to Vaughn, and the filmmaker responded.

WQ
3 years
Impressive to see someone using their own money to buy material. It's a bold move, and you...
James
3 years
Read Barry's stuff. He's incredibly imaginative and satirical.
Lindsey
3 years
LOVE Max Barry! Can't wait for this book & movie.

Janklow & Nesbit, which almost always used a co-agent to make movie deals in the past (usually CAA,) now handles that task for most of the agency’s authors, since opening a Hollywood outpost in March. Janklow & Nesbit’s Carlo Martinelli and Amanda Schweitzer did this deal for Barry.