EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and producer Scott Stuber have set Sarah Treem to adapt Until I Say Good-Bye: My Year Of Living With Joy, the memoir by Susan Spencer-Wendel and Bret Witter that the studio bought in a seven-figure deal in June 2012. This was after the book landed a $2.3 million publishing deal from HarperCollins, back when the working title was Breathe Deeply. This is the memoir by Spencer-Wendel of facing her mortality as ALS begins to take a toll on her. Treem’s recent credits include HBO’s In Treatment, Netflix’s House Of Cards and the Showtime pilot The Affair.
Spencer-Wendel is a longtime court reporter for the Palm Beach Post who, at age 44, was diagnosed with ALS, the degenerative ailment most commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease that destroys the nerves that power muscles including the lungs. The book and movie action came from a Wall Street Journal article written about her illness. The book and movie crowds sparked to her race against time to create a record of her life before her illness overcame her. That included things most take for granted: She and her then-14-year-old daughter are fans of the reality show Say Yes To The Dress, and they planned to head to Kleinfeld’s so the teen could try on wedding dresses for her mom, which was always the plan before the author took ill. She will leave behind the money so her sister can eventually buy a dream dress there when her daughter is ready to get married. Spencer-Wendel herself was up against a ticking clock, but finished the book before the disease’s impact on her power of speech and ability to type took too great a toll. Stuber is producing through his Bluegrass Films banner, with his senior veep Alexa Faigen executive producing alongside Peter McGuigan. Uni’s Kristin Lowe and creative exec Sara Scott are overseeing for the studio. Treem is repped by WME.