EXCLUSIVE: Ted Melfi, whose new film The Starling premiered last night at the Toronto Film Festival, has been set to adapt, direct and produce for Netflix Underworld, based on the seminal novel by Don DeLillo. The novel is a sprawling tapestry spread across decades that has a through line of the home run Bobby Thomson hit in 1951 to win the pennant for the New York Giants, breaking the hearts of crosstown fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers.
As the home run is hit and retrieved by a young fan named Cotter Martin, things are happening all around, including J. Edgar Hoover learning that moment that the Soviet Union had completed its first test of the hydrogen bomb. The ball eventually winds up in the hands of a waste management business owner named Nick Shay, who sets out to find the original owner as he sorts out his own mess of a life.
More on this shortly, but Netflix has made a big eight-figure deal for this. The streamer made the Melissa McCarthy-Kevin Kline-starrer The Starling, and Netflix and Melfi will take on a most ambitious thriller, which has long been considered the masterwork of DeLillo, author of the books White Noise and Libra.
Uri Singer is producing the film with Melfi. Singer optioned the book from DeLillo through EchoLake’s Amy Schiffman, who reps the author on behalf of the Robin Straus Agency. It is Singer’s second feature adaptation of a DeLillo book following White Noise which is in production with Noah Baumbach at the helm. Singer also optioned a third Delillo book, The Silence.
Melfi is repped by UTA and Gang Tyre.
More on this tomorrow.
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