Anonymous Content, Chapter One, Hopscotch & Joel Edgerton Win Auction For Buzz Novel ‘Boy Swallows Universe’, Plan TV Drama Adaptation

Shutterstock; HarperCollins

EXCLUSIVE: Following a heated auction, Anonymous Content, Chapter One, Hopscotch Features and Joel Edgerton (Boy Erased) are teaming to produce an international TV drama adaptation of Australian bestseller Boy Swallows Universe.

The project is the first to be announced for Anonymous Content’s UK spin-off Chapter One, which was set up last year with UK agencies Casarotto Ramsay and United. The deal was negotiated on behalf of HarperCollins Australia.

Acclaimed Oz journalist Trent Dalton’s lauded debut novel, inspired by his own complicated youth, is a coming-of-age story set in Brisbane’s violent working-class suburban fringe. The 1980’s story follows a young boy trying to find his way despite his mum being in jail, his stepfather pushing heroine, and the attentions of a local drug kingpin. Amid this fraught existence he also navigates his first romance.

Australian multi-hyphenate Edgerton, star of Loving and writer-director-producer of Boy Erased and The Gift, will produce the project alongside Anonymous Content’s Kerry Kohansky-Roberts (Boy Erased), Sophie Gardiner (Howards End) for Chapter One and Troy Lum (The Water Diviner) for Hopscotch Films. Dalton will also executive produce. A writer has yet to be set.

The book has sold more than 160,000 copies in Australia since publication in July 2018 and was awarded Book of the Year at the Indie Book Awards and the Australian Book Awards and was recently long-listed for The Miles Franklin Award. The novel will be published across 34 English language and translation territories over the coming year, including in the U.S. and the UK.

The project is the first co-production revealed between Anonymous and Chapter One whose Managing Director Gardiner will oversee the project on behalf of the production house while continuing to spearhead overall development of the label’s slate. The former Playground staffer was exec-producer on BBC and Starz drama Howards End and Heidi Thomas’s Little Women for the BBC and Masterpiece.

Anonymous last month lost its long-time CEO and founder Steve Golin to cancer. The company’s partners are executing day-to-day operations and are advising on strategy.

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