EXCLUSIVE: Escape Artists just optioned Wallace Stegner’s critically acclaimed novel Crossing To Safety, a semi-autobiographical tome about two academic couples who meet in Madison, WI and follows their marriages and friendship over the course of several decades. The book itself, published in 1987 by Random House, debuted to critical raves, is still in print today and boasts a cult following.

The screen adaptation is being penned by David Bloomfield. This would be the first time any of Stegner’s novels have made it to the big or small screen. The writer was, however, the subject of a PBS special in 1997 narrated by Robert Redford.

The project will be produced by Escape Artists’ Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch and Bloomfield. Escape Artists has a first-look deal with Sony Pictures.

“I am so pleased that the Stegner estate has entrusted this beautiful book to us,” said Black. “This novel has deeply touched the lives of everyone who has read it. This will be a special film, an intense tale for four great actors and a poignant and ultimately uplifting love story.”

Brandt & Hochman is the longtime representative of Stegner and his body of work which has won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. The American novelist, often referred to as the Dean of Western Writers, is probably best known for his books The Spectator Bird and Angle Of Repose. The author, who taught school first in Madison, Harvard and then Stanford, died in 1993.