Amy Poehler’s Paper Kite Productions has come aboard to option rights to Rebecca Makkai’s 2018 novel The Great Believers, set during the wide swath of the AIDS epidemic, with plans to turn it into a TV series.
The novel, published in June by Penguin Random House imprint Viking, is set in mid-1980s Chicago and 2015 Paris, using the AIDS epidemic and a mother’s search for her estranged daughter to explore the effects of senseless loss and our efforts to overcome it. The arc revolving around a group of mostly gay male friends conveys the terrors and tragedies of the epidemic’s early years and follows its repercussions over decades.
The book was a finalist for this year’s National Book Award for Fiction and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal for Excellence for Fiction, and was on several year-end best novel lists.
Paper Kite, which has a development deal at Universal Television, adds the project to a slate that includes NBC’s I Feel Bad; the Adult Swim pilot Three Busy Debras; the Netflix comedy series Russian Doll with Natasha Lyonne; the Riki Lindhome comedy Tails and animated Duncanville both for Fox; and Broad City, which is airing its fifth and final season beginning January.
It also recently acquired rights to a pair of books, Moxie and the children’s fiction book The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, to adapt into feature films.
Poehler is repped by WME, 3 Arts and Sloan, Offer. Makkai, who also wrote the novels The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower, was repped in the deal by Aragi Inc and Anonymous Content.