EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation with several companies pursuing, Entertainment One has acquired the TV rights to Jenny Lee’s upcoming YA novel Anna K, a modern-day, multicultural retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s classic Anna Karenina, to adapt as a TV series with Drew Comins’ Creative Engine Entertainment and Scooter Braun’s SB Projects.
Described as Gossip Girl and 13 Reasons Why meets Crazy Rich Asians, Anna K is set between Manhattan and Greenwich, CT. It follows a Korean-American “it” girl caught between her picture-perfect, family-approved boyfriend and the guy who might just be her one true love, along with her high-flying cast of friends and family.
Lee, who, besides an author is a TV writer currently working on BET’s upcoming Boomerang series reboot, will write the adaptation. Anna K was brought to eOne by Comins through his overall deal at the company. He and Braun, who had worked together before, teamed on the project as they both were pursuing the rights to Lee’s book.
Braun, who is tapped into the youth market and represents such young artists who appeal to teens and millennials as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, will executive produce alongside James Shin and Scott Manson of Braun’s SB Projects; Comins will also executive produce.Jacqueline Sacerio will oversee for eOne, which serves as the studio and will distribute the series worldwide.
“Jenny is an incredible writer and we love the re-telling of this classic story with a diverse cast of characters,” said Braun. We’ve also found great collaborators in Mark Gordon and his team at eOne. This is going to be a really special project.”
The novel was acquired pre-emptively by Sarah Barley and Caroline Bleeke of Flatiron Books and will be published in 2020.
The big interest in the property was likely fueled at least in part by the success of Crazy Rich Asians which became a box-office and pop culture hit.
Anna Karenina, first published in book form in 1878, is considered by many to be among the greatest works of literature ever written. A complex novel in eight parts, with more than a dozen major characters, Anna Karenina deals with themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, Imperial Russian society, desire, and rural vs. city life.
Lee’s TV writing-producing credits also include the ABC Family/Freeform sitcom Young & Hungry and Disney Channel’s Shake It Up. She is also the author of Elvis and the Underdogs. Lee is repped by Paradigm on behalf of Sally Wofford-Girand of Union Literary and Cohen & Gardner.