EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Players has optioned Chris Lee’s Daily Beast story When Prince Made a Chambermaid His Queen for a Day. Elizabeth Banks plans to star in Queen For A Day, and she is producing it with Max Handelman through their Brownstone banner along with Josh Stolberg and David Klawans. Scott Neustadter & Michael Weber are exec producers with Brownstone’s Alison Small.
They’ve just set Flora Greeson to rewrite a first draft by Stolberg about the chaos that occurred in 1986 when Warner Bros hatched a contest to draw attention to Prince’s Purple Rain followup Under The Cherry Moon.
The studio staged Win A Date With Prince, an MTV contest in which the 10,000th caller won a date with the rock star. Actually, more than a date: the studio would stage a premiere of Prince’s film in the winner’s hometown, followed by a concert toplined by Prince and The Revolution. The winner was Lisa Barber, a young lady in Sheridan, Wyoming who cleaned hotels and was a big Motley Crue fan. The movie is inspired by an article about the Cinderella story date, but the movie will be about how the event changed the lives of two very different women – the Manhattan PR exec responsible for the event’s success and the shy, awkward contest winner from Wyoming, whose town becomes the unexpected nexus of all things Prince for one unforgettable night.
Prince himself will not be played by an actor though his presence will hover through the film. The movie will focus on the herculean effort that went into organizing an event that brought the 5’3″ purple-clad rock icon to a small cowboy town and established his date as a reluctant media sensation. As the article implied “behind the scenes, coke-fueled chaos reigned.”
There is a bit of a Cinderella story in the hiring of Greeson to write the script. The producers first offered the writing job to Neustadter & Weber, who’ve scripted (500) Days of Summer, The Fault in Our Stars and got an Oscar nom for The Disaster Artist. They were otherwise engaged writing the Amazon series Daisy Jones and The Six, but they loved the story and were looking to become more active as producers. So they worked with Banks & Handelman, and Klawans (who just set up the McDonald’s Monopoly movie with Fox, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon) and set Greeson. She was the former assistant of their agent, Bill Zotti, and she got the job.
Greeson is repped by Zotti at UTA and so are Neustadter & Weber who are also Kaplan/Perrone; Banks, who’ll next direct Charlie’s Angels, is repped by UTA, Untitled Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham. Stolberg is UTA and Circle of Confusion.