EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has optioned film rights to The Grace Year, and Elizabeth Banks will direct the adaptation of a novel by Kim Liggett that will be published by Wednesday Books in the fall. Banks and Max Handelman will produce through their Brownstone Productions banner, along with New Leaf Literary & Media’s Pouya Shahbazian.
The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in between. The novel has already become an international sensation, selling rights at auction into a number of territories including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and Hungary.
After launching the Pitch Perfect franchise, Banks and Handelman have continued to be prolific. She directed, produced co-wrote and even played Bosley in the upcoming remake of Charlie’s Angeles for Sony Pictures, and they recently set the comedy Science Fair at Universal where they have adaptations in the works of Paper Bag Princess and a YA adaptation of Red Queen, both of which Banks will direct. There is also Queen for a Day at Paramount Players and the Danielle Macdonald-starrer White Girl Problems at Lionsgate. On the television side, the company’s latest series Shrill will premiere March 15 on Hulu starring Aidy Bryant.
In the case of The Grace Year, Banks and Handelman optioned the manuscript last year under the company’s first-look deal with Universal. Liggett and Brownstone’s Alison Small will executive produce and Universal VP Production Sara Scott and creative executive Lexi Barta will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
Liggett is represented by Joanna Volpe of New Leaf Literary & Media and attorney Karl Austen of Jackoway Austen. Banks is repped by UTA, Untitled Entertainment, Ziffren Brittenham, and Relevant.