EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures is tying down its first major material purchase for ex-studio chief-turned-producer Amy Pascal. I’m told that the studio is in negotiations to buy the hot book on the street for Pascal to produce. It is Maestra, a thriller novel by S.L. Knight that was bought by a UK publisher, Bonniere, and hasn’t yet gone out on submission to US publishers. CAA is repping the screen rights. I’m told the unpublished novel is a sexy thriller with a Gone Girl vibe. The protagonist is an assistant at an art auction house who gets fired for identifying a forged painting. The assistant then goes on a mission that involves seducing an art dealer connected to the forgery, all in the name of learning the fraud game. Pascal is still setting up her shingle and hasn’t yet named it. I’ll tell you more when I know, but if this closes, it would be added to an early list of producing projects that includes the Paul Feig-directed Ghostbusters revamp, as well as the next iteration of Spider-Man and Barbie. Hannah Minghella was key in bringing this in quickly for a preemptive buy.
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