EXCLUSIVE: Being Mary Jane star Gabrielle Union has teamed with Rebel Maverick and Amyale to secure the rights to Juleah Del Rosario’s debut novel, 500 Words Or Less, a young adult fiction which will be adapted into a feature.
Union will produce the project under her I’ll Have Another Productions banner, with Holly Shakoor Fleischer overseeing development on behalf of the company. Manaal Khan and Matt Nicholas will be producing for Amyale and Rebel Maverick, respectively.
“Gabrielle Union has championed the YA genre for years, giving us some of our all-time favorites, and we couldn’t think of a better collaborator for this unique and poetic coming of age story,” said Khan and Nicholas.
Written entirely in verse, the book, which was released last week via Simon Pulse, centers on Nic Chen, a Chinese-American high school senior who attempts to salvage her reputation among her Ivy League-obsessed classmates by writing their college admission essays and in the process learns big truths about herself.
“I am such a fan of young adult stories in general but this novel really got me. It is beautifully written entirely in verse and the exploration of identity and what that means to you and those around you is something that my production company is focused on exploring with all the stories we choose to tell. This one really hit home and I’m excited to be part of bringing it to life as accurately as we possibly can,” stated Union.
All parties are out to writers in an effort to bring this story to the screen in an authentic fashion.
Union is certainly no stranger to the YA genre having appeared in many 90s teen-centric series as well as in the pop culture classic films like She’s All That, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Bring It On.
Most recently, she co-starred alongside Alec Baldwin, Jena Malone, Christian Slater, and Jeffrey Wright in the Emilio Estevez-directed drama, The Public, which premiered at TIFF, and starred in and produced the Universal thriller, Breaking In.
Union, who co-stars opposite Jessica Alba in the forthcoming Bad Boys-based series, L.A.’s Finest, is repped by CAA, Atlas Artists, and Felker Toczek Suddleson Abramson.