EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, Universal has acquired rights to Nita Prose’s not-yet-released debut novel The Maid. Oscar nominee Florence Pugh is set to play the title character in the film, which Josh McLaughlin and Chris Goldberg are producing through their companies Wink Pictures and Winterlight Pictures, respectively. Pugh will produce as well. Prose will also serve as executive producer.
The deal was brokered by ICM Partners on behalf of the Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV and Film Agency.
Set for publication in 2022 via Penguin Random House in the U.S. and Canada and HarperFiction in the UK, the novel blends the charm of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine with an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery. It is set at the Regency Grand Hotel, where Molly the maid leaves every room perfect and pristine, while getting to know each guest’s dirty secrets. A Clue-like, locked-room whodunnit, The Maid explores Molly’s descent into the murderous underbelly of her gilded workplace, while telling a timely story about the strengths of our differences.
The author, Nita Pronovost (writing as Nita Prose), is Vice President and Editorial Director at Simon & Schuster Canada.
Pugh has become one of Hollywood’s most sought-after female actors following her star-making turn in Midsommar and Oscar-nominated role in Little Women. She next stars in Marvel’s Black Widow set to hit theaters in May 2021, and she recently began production as the female lead in Don’t Worry Darling for New Line, directed by Olivia Wilde.
The Maid is one of many film and TV projects set up by former Fox Literary scout and development exec Chris Goldberg with a range of producing partners since founding Winterlight Pictures, a company focused on sourcing IP for screen adaptation.
The former president of production at Focus Features, McLaughlin has started Wink Pictures with an overall deal at Focus/Universal to produce projects in both film and television. Alongside The Maid, McLaughlin has a range of projects set up around town working with a range of filmmakers including a film project with Lulu Wang; an adaptation of the podcast Bagman with Ben Stiller directing; and a film about the relationship between Carol Burnett and her daughter Carrie that he is producing alongside Carol and Tina Fey.
Universal’s SVP Production Jeyun Munford and creative executive Christine Sun will oversee The Maid project on behalf of the studio.
Prose is represented by Madeleine Milburn at the MM Agency. Pugh is represented by CAA, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Curtis Brown.
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