EXCLUSIVE– Fox 2000 has acquired the rights to Brit comic and author David Baddiel’s novel The Parent Agency. The novel, published by HarperCollins, is an epic wish-fulfilment adventure for every child and for the child in everyone where you get to choose your parents. The Parent Agency was the bestselling hardback children’s debut of 2014 and winner of the 2016 Laugh Out Loud Book Awards. The book was published in the U.S. on 3 May 2016.
The Parent Agency has a killer longline. Youngster Barry Bennett hates being called Barry. In fact it’s number 2 on the list of things he blames his parents for, along with being boring and always being tired. He wishes he had better parents. But there is a world, not far from this one, where parents don’t have children. In this world, children are allowed to choose their parents. For Barry Bennett, this world seems like a dream come true. Only, things turn out to be not quite that simple.
Baddiel, a comedian, novelist and screenwriter based in the UK, will adapt the book himself for the big screen. He will also produce alongside Snowed-In Productions’ Ruth Kenley-Letts. The film will be exec produced by Snowed-In’s Neil Blair. Blair is a regular collaborator with Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling. He is a producer on Rowling adaptations Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and The Casual Vacancy.
The Parent Agency is the first feature film from Snowed-In Productions, founded in 2014 to work alongside Brontë Film and Television on all non-J.K. Rowling written projects. Ruth Kenley-Letts has produced many film and TV dramas including Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy for BBC, HBO and Warner Bros. She won an Academy Award and BAFTA for short film Franz Kafka’s It’s A Wonderful Life alongside director Peter Capaldi and went on to produce Capaldi’s Strictly Sinatra for which she was nominated for another BAFTA. She produced Tony Jordan’s The Nativity, the first two series of Abi Morgan’s The Hour as well as The Tunnel for Sky Atlantic.
Fox 2000 President Elizabeth Gabler and VP of Production Marisa Paiva are shepherding the project. The studio’s senior literary consultant, Drew Reed, was instrumental in bringing the project in.
Baddiel, who first came to fame in the UK as a comic alongside first Rob Newman in The Mary Whitehouse Experience and later Frank Skinner as one half of Baddiel and Skinner, has written seven books. His first children’s novel was The Parent Agency, followed by The Person Controller, which was published in October 2015 and has sold more than 100,000 copies. He has also written The Boy Who Could Do What He Liked for 2016’s World Book Day. Hid adult novel credits include The Death of Eli Gold, Time For Bed, Whatever Love Means and The Secret Purposes.
Baddiel has previously written for the big screen before, with Omid Djalili-starrer The Infidel. His latest live show, My Family: Not the Sitcom, sold out and will transfer to the West End’s Vaudeville Theatre for a five-week run in Autumn 2016. He is repped by Avalon Management. The Agency (London) Ltd. handles his film rights on behalf of Rogers, Coleridge & White.