EXCLUSIVE: In a competitive situation, HBO Max has landed Anna K, a TV series adaptation of Jenny Lee’s upcoming YA novel, with a put pilot commitment. The project, now in early development, is a modern-day, empowering, multicultural retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s classic Anna Karenina. It hails from Entertainment One, Scooter Braun’s SB Projects and Drew Comins’ Creative Engine Entertainment.
Described as Gossip Girl and 13 Reasons Why meets Crazy Rich Asians, Anna K is set between Manhattan and Greenwich, CT. It follows a Korean-American “it” girl caught between her picture-perfect, family-approved boyfriend and the guy who might just be her one true love, along with her high-flying cast of friends and family.
Lee will adapt her book as creator and writer of the series. Besides an author, Lee is a TV writer who has worked on BET’s Boomerang, IFC’s Brockmire, Freeform’s Young & Hungry and the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up.
Lee’s Anna K: A Love Story novel, which was acquired pre-emptively by Sarah Barley and Caroline Bleeke of Flatiron Books, will be published in March 2020. EOne landed the rights in January in a competitive situation. The book was brought to the company by Comins through his overall deal at the company. He and Braun, who had worked together before, teamed on the project as they both were pursuing the rights to Lee’s book.
Braun, who is tapped into the youth market and represents such young artists who appeal to teens and millennials as Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, will executive produce alongside James Shin and Scott Manson of Braun’s SB Projects. Comins will also executive produce. Jacqueline Sacerio will oversee for eOne, which serves as the studio and will distribute the series internationally.
Lee is the author of four humor essay books and the middle grade novel Elvis and the Underdogs. Anna K: A Love Story is Lee’s debut YA novel. She was repped by Paradigm on behalf of Sally Wofford-Girand of Union Literary and Cohen Gardner.