Random House has acquired the new novel from Graham Moore, the scribe who just won the Adapted Screenplay Academy Award for his first screenplay The Imitation Game and gave one of Oscar night’s best acceptance speeches. Terms were not disclosed, but Moore’s second novel, The Last Days Of Wonder, will be published in fall 2016.
Sticking to the historical thriller bent of Alan Turing’s story in Imitation Game, Wonder is set against the backdrop of 1880s New York and centers on the legal battle over the invention of the light bulb pitting Thomas Edison against George Westinghouse. The story is told through the eyes of Westinghouse’s young attorney, Paul Cravath (later the founding partner of the prestigious law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore), and focuses on his efforts against enormous odds to win his case for his client.
Senior Editor Noah Eaker pre-empted North American rights for Random House from Jennifer Joel of ICM Partners.
“Everyone here fell instantly in love with Graham’s novel,” Eaker said. “As he did with Alan Turing’s story in The Imitation Game, he has animated the Edison/Westinghouse ‘war of the currents’ through the setting and characters he has so brilliantly brought to life on the page. ”
Moore’s first novel was the 2010 New York Times bestseller The Sherlockian. On the film front, he recently adapted The Devil In The White City for Warner Bros and Leonardo DiCaprio, and is writing original TV pilots for HBO with director Michael Mann and UK channel SKY Atlantic with director Marc Forster.
On Oscar night, Moore during his speech publicly that he attempted suicide as a teen. “So here’s the thing,” Moore said onstage. “Alan Turing never got to stand on a stage like this and look out at all of these disconcertingly attractive faces. And I do. And that’s the most unfair thing I think I’ve ever heard. So in this brief time here, what I want to use it to do is to say this: When I was 16 years old, I tried to kill myself, because I felt weird and I felt different, and I felt like did not belong. And now I’m standing here, and so I would like this moment to be for that kid who’s out there who feels weird or feels different or feels she doesn’t fit in anywhere. Yes you do. I promise you do.
“Stay weird, stay different, and then when it’s your turn, and you are standing on the stage, please pass the same message to the next person who comes along.”