EXCLUSIVE: Producer Scott Rudin has acquired The Girls, a novel by first-timer Emma Cline that has numerous publishing houses salivating for the literary rights auction that will happen shortly. Cline has an MFA from Columbia University and works in the fiction department of The New Yorker. She was awarded the 2014 Plimpton Prize for Fiction from The Paris Review, where her fiction and essays have been published.
The novel takes place in the combustible summer of 1969, where a 14-year-old named Evie lives in boredom in Marin County. The product of recently divorced parents, she is restless and unable to get much attention from either of them. She befriends and falls into an accidental friendship with an older and beguiling drifter named Suzanne. The young girl soon is sucked into the turbulent counterculture waters of what is to become an infamous commune, run by a charismatic madman. Evie quickly finds herself under the sway of a madman and closer than she knows to unthinkable violence. The book is a meditation on how power is lost when one looks to find it in others and surrenders free will to them, and how far some will go for a sense of counting for something.
Rudin will produce the film with Eli Bush, and it is being bought though IAC by Rudin and Barry Diller. That is the entity responsible for Chris Rock’s Top Five and Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young, which constituted the two most substantial acquisition deals of the Toronto Film Festival last month. UTA and The Clegg Agency’s Bill Clegg brokered the deal.