Brad Weston’s Makeready Lands Jessica Barry Thriller Novel ‘Freefall’, Latest In Slate-Building Deal Flurry

Brad Weston Makeready
Courtesy Makeready

EXCLUSIVE: In a seven-figure deal, Brad Weston’s Makeready has pre-emptively acquired film rights to Freefall, a thriller novel by Jessica Barry that recently sold to HarperCollins to be published early next year.

The deal comes on the heels of a Makeready acquisition for the James Frey novel Katerina, which Simon & Schuster will publish this fall. That fast-tracked film is set to start production in the fall for 2019 release.

Freefall opens with the catastrophic crash of a small passenger aircraft, deep in the Colorado Rockies. The only survivor is a woman who must fight her way back to her mother, before the person she is running from gets there first. The novel uses a propulsive plot to explore the relationships women have with men, their mothers, their daughters and themselves, as the heroine struggles to survive unimaginable obstacles to reclaim her own life.

Makeready is fully financing. Universal Pictures and Entertainment One have the worldwide distribution rights.

Makeready was launched last May by Weston, with eOne its lead investor, and a five-year deal with Universal to handle worldwide distribution and marketing on two films per year. This followed Weston’s run as New Regency president/CEO that over three years resulted in two Best Picture winners in 12 Years a Slave and Birdman, and the Best Picture nominee The Revenant. He brought with him his right-hand exec Pam Abdy, who heads the film side of Makeready.

Aside from Freefall and Katerina, Makeready is also percolating Apacheria, an adaptation of Paul Andrew Hutton’s The Apache Wars, which was adapted by American Hustle scribe Eric Singer, produced by Josh Bratman and Charlie Hunnam, latter of whom is starring; an untitled film to be written and directed by the 22-year-old 2017 Tribeca Film Festival breakout Quinn Shephard, the actress who wrote and directed Blame; the gun-control drama Arms, scripted by playwright/screenwriter David McMillan; and an adaptation of the bestseller Orphan Train, with Michael London producing.

Makeready is in production on A Million Little Pieces, an adaptation of the Frey novel that Sam Taylor-Johnson is directing, with Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton starring. The film will likely debut this fall on the festival circuit before early 2019 release.

The Freefall deal was brokered by ICM Partners with Curtis Brown Group’s Luke Speed and Felicity Blunt.

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