Kroll & Co. Entertainment Acquires Jonathan Lethem’s ‘The Feral Detective’

Sue Kroll
Kroll & Co.

EXCLUSIVE: Kroll & Co. Entertainment, the recently launched production company of producer Sue Kroll, has acquired the rights to Jonathan Lethem’s new novel, The Feral Detective, through her exclusive deal at Warner Bros. Pictures. The novel which will be published this November is Lethem’s first detective story since his New York Times bestseller Motherless Brooklynwhich Edward Norton is directing for the big screen with Kroll as executive producer. The Feral Detective furthers the collaborative relationship between the award-winning author and Kroll. Ecco, the imprint of HarperCollins, is the publisher of The Feral Detective. 

WME brokered the deal on behalf of Lethem and the novel. Stewart Brookman of Hansen, Jacobson negotiated on behalf of Kroll & Co.


The Feral Detective follows Phoebe Siegler, a sarcastic and garrulous woman who heads to California to try to find her best friend’s missing teenaged daughter. When a lead brings her to the stark and seedy desert towns just east of Los Angeles, Phoebe is put in contact with Charles Heist, a laconic, strange private eye with an uncanny ability to find those that don’t want to be found, who reluctantly agrees to help. She dubs him The Feral Detective. As the unlikely pair traverse the stunning desert and its enclaves and get closer to the missing girl, their lives are placed in increasing jeopardy.

Kroll tells Deadline, “Jonathan’s writing is never obvious and thrives in the unconventional — often seamlessly blending elements of science, fiction, detective noir, mystery, dark humor and social commentary into something wholly original, funny and imaginative. Also we share a passion for the work of authors such as Phillip K. Dick and Raymond Chandler, and Jonathan follows in their great and unique tradition.”

“Jonathan is one of America’s greatest storytellers and, without hyperbole, a true literary genius,” adds Kroll. “The Feral Detective is similarly brilliant, and also a wild, funny, contemporary, and genre-defying piece of literature that represents the type of stories I want to continue to tell through Kroll & Co. I am thrilled to be able to help bring his novel to the screen.”

Lethem added, “It’s a thrill having Sue Kroll capture The Feral Detective for the screen. From the moment we first spoke, Sue persuaded me she saw Phoebe and Charles, and their wild ricochet through the book’s barbaric landscape, in uniquely cinematic terms. What luck for me to have Sue find the book and begin to make it her own.”

As EP on Motherless Brooklyn Kroll has teamed with producers Norton, William Migliore, Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane, and executive producers Michael Bederman, Adrian Alperovich, Robert F. Smith, Brian Sheth and Daniel Nader. The pic is currently in post-production and stars Norton, Bruce Willis, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Willem Dafoe and Alec Baldwin.

Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of nine novels, including Dissident Gardens and The Fortress of Solitude. He is an NBCC Award winner, a recipient of a MacArthur genius grant, and is a frequent contributor to The New Yorker.

Through her exclusive deal at Warner Bros. Pictures, Kroll & Co. recently announced its first acquisition of Peter Kornbluh’s gripping Politico article “My Dearest Fidel: A Journalist’s Secret Liaison with Fidel Castro,” which Kroll will develop and produce alongside Gal Gadot and Jaron Varsano. It was announced at the beginning of the year that Kroll, the former global distribution and marketing chief of Warner Bros, would segue to an exclusive producing deal on the lot. Her Kroll & Co. is serving as EP on the October 5 Bradley Cooper-Lady Gaga film A Star Is Born, the Ridley Scott produced Nemesis, the YA drama The Selection with producers Denise Di Novi and Pouya Shahbazian; an untitled comedy starring Sandra Bullock, who will also produce with Michael Bostick; the upcoming 2020 release The Six Billion Dollar Man, as well as the feature adaptation of Donna Tartt’s novel The Goldfinch which opens on Oct. 11, 2019.


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