EXCLUSIVE: With several upcoming releases on the 2016 calendar, the husband/wife producing duo of Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald have just brought in another project to their production shingle. They just optioned the first novel of Jordan Harper, who is the producer of Gotham and The Mentalist. In a pre-emptive strike and financed by their four-year partnership with ImageNation Abu Dhabi, the producers picked up If All Roads Were Blind which tells the intense, at times violent (and ultimately heartbreaking) story of Nate McClusky and his relationship with his estranged young daughter, Polly.
Just days from getting released from Soledad State Prison, the protagonist (Nate) runs afoul of the powerful leader of the Aryan Brotherhood, who runs its state-wide Meth network from his cell. Marked for death his release, Nate soon realizes that everyone he has ever loved is a target — including his daughter, who he hasn’t seen for years. Soon the two of them find themselves on a non-stop struggle for survival, and along the way, discover the bonds that eluded them for so many years.
Parkes and MacDonald will produce and Evan Hayes will exec produce the property. The book will be published this July by Ecco/Harper Collins. Harper will adapt his novel for the screen.
“Jordan’s novel somehow manages to operate as a beautifully crafted piece of popular fiction and an E-ticket ride to a world which is equal parts terrifying yet strangely alluring — while revealing itself to be, at its core, a deeply-felt meditation on paternal love,” said Parkes.
Parkes and MacDonald, who were the first presidents of Dream Works SKG motion picture studio and have always been prolific producers who work in both TV and film. Their 2015 slate included NBC’s critically acclaimed The Slap and the NBC pilot Warrior. Upcoming productions include James Ponsoldt’s The Circle, the live action Barbie film for Sony, Ring for Paramount Pictures and Keeping Up with the Joneses for Fox.
The first film from the Image Nation Abu Dhabi partnership was He Named Me Malala about the Taliban’s attack on Pakistani schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai. The young girl came back from the brink of death after being shot repeatedly on a school bus (targeted by her would-be assassin) and continues to speak up for a female’s right to education. At 17, she became the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.