Romantic Sparks Fly As Studios Woo Nicholas Sparks For ‘The Longest Ride’

Hot book on the block today. The Longest Ride, the new novel by Nicholas Sparks, is in play today, and it will most assuredly mean a big seven-figure deal with several studios and producers/financiers lining up for the author’s latest romantic weeper. This comes days after the author of The Notebook, Message In A Bottle and A Walk to Remember and The Lucky One saw his most recent novel adaptation, Safe Haven, nearly beat out A Good Day To Die Hard in their respective opening weekends. I’m told that when UTA starts entertaining presentations by buyers, they will make it clear that the goal is to have the movie ready for Valentine’s Day 2015 release.

The book is divided into two intertwining love stories. It opens with a 90-year old man snowbound and stuck in his car after a major crash on an isolated road. As he drifts in and out of consciousness awaiting rescue, the man sees visions of his life love, who died earlier. Together they reminisce about their life together, including his difficulty in returning from WWII, and being unable to have children with her because of a war wound. They become renowned art collectors and the man has been lost since she died from a stroke. The other romance is between a young art history major and a handsome bull rider who fall in love despite coming from completely different backgrounds. Each has aspirations and dreams, and the cowboy is fighting the clock and should not be riding due to past injuries, but has a family ranch to save. A strange occurrence allows the two generations of lovers to save each other.

It’s a little too romantic for me, a guy who craves explosions and R-rated humor for my movie dollar, but Sparks has become a brand for a big audience segment–gals who drag their guys–and Sparks has proven more reliable than most authors at showing that pulling at the heart strings leads to pulling at the purse strings of that audience always looking for a movie to attend around Valentine’s Day. This could sell before the weekend, with Warner Bros, Relativity (which made Safe Haven) and Fox 2000 among those interested.

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