EXCLUSIVE: Bruna Papandrea, whose Pacific Standard production partnership with Reese Witherspoon yielded the HBO series Big Little Lies and the films Gone Girl and Wild, has made the first acquisition under her newly launched solo shingle. Made Up Stories has optioned Elizabeth Klehforth’s debut novel The House On Langley Lake. The book, which WME will take out to publishers this week, is described as a compulsively readable debut that probes the depths of dangerous friendships and powerful families. The story is told through narratives from the heroine’s present, and her parents’ past, to unearth secrets that bind and destroy the characters.
“When I read Elizabeth’s book I had this overwhelming feeling that this should be the first literary acquisition for my new company,” Papandrea said. “With an incredibly complex young heroine at the center, this is one of those rare books that will appeal to a large cross section of readers. It is an emotional and heart racing thriller that I believe will find a huge international audience. It is hard to believe that this is Elizabeth’s first novel and we are all very excited at Made Up Stories for the incredible career she is going to have.”
Papandrea has established herself as a taste-making producer who leans heavily towards books, many with strong female characters. She has been quietly ramping up since she and Witherspoon parted last fall. They have numerous bestselling book adaptations at studios across town and will produce them together. The first onscreen production credit for Papandrea’s Made Up Stories will be on The Nightingale, a period thriller the label is producing and co-financing. The film starts production next week in Tasmania, Australia and is being directed by Jennifer Kent, who wrote the script and previously scripted and helmed the acclaimed thriller The Babadook.
WME repped the author. Brendan Kenney will serve in a producing capacity and Jeanne Snow and Casey Haver will oversee development for Made Up Stories.