EXCLUSIVE: From dumplings to sweet peas, Disney Channel has optioned the rights to Dear Sweet Pea from New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy. The project is currently on the Disney Channel Original Movie development slate.
Dear Sweet Pea takes place in the colorful small town of Valentine, Texas (Murphy is a Texas native) and follows 13-year-old Patricia “Sweet Pea” DiMarco whose life begins to change when her parents announce they’re divorcing and her father is moving to a nearly identical house two doors down the street. When her next-door neighbor, a famed local advice columnist, heads out of town, Sweet Pea is tasked with collecting her mail. When one letter catches her eye, she starts to answer the letters on the down low — even though they are meant for her neighbor’s column. These events forever change the lives of the many readers of the advice column as well as Sweet Pea’s family, friends and her own life. As a result, she learns things she never knew about the people in her life.
“The emotional journey that Julie Murphy takes readers on in Dear Sweet Pea has all of the elements that deliver authentic and relatable storytelling for today’s kids and families,” said Lauren Kisilevsky, vice president, Original Movies, Disney Channel. “The themes of self-discovery and navigating the new normal of a nontraditional family echo Disney Channel’s commitment to entertaining and inspiring programming.”
Murphy also wrote the best-selling coming-of-age novel Dumplin’ which follows the plus-size Willowdean — aka the titular “Dumplin”. As a reluctant daughter of a former teen beauty queen, Dumplin’ signs up for her mom’s local pageant as a protest which turns into a revolution in their small Texas town. The novel was adapted into a Netflix movie in 2018 starring Danielle Macdonald and Jennifer Aniston. The pic included the song “Girl in the Movies” from Dolly Parton and Linda Perry which received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song.
Murphy was repped by CAA on behalf of John Cusick at Folio Literary Management for the deal.