Sometimes the best screenwriter to adapt a novel is the novel’s author herself.
Universal has followed this logic, as it just hired Lauren Oliver to pen the screenplay of the studio’s adaptation of her YA novel Panic.
Universal picked up the rights in a bidding war in 2013 in advance of the book’s spring 2014 release from Harper Teen, an imprint of HarperCollins. The book was a hot property due to the success of Oliver’s previous novels, the New York Times best-selling Delirium trilogy and the 2010 hit Before I Fall, which was set up at Fox 2000.
Marc Platt and Adam Siegel are producing Panic.
The story takes place in a small town and features a cast of teens who are competing in fear trials for a chance to win a prize. Alliances are forged, secrets are revealed and first loves face tests of courage.
Having the author of the book also write the adaptation is one of the current hot Hollywood trends, especially following the success of Gillian Flynn in writing the script for Gone Girl, which proved to be a commercial and critical hit. Dennis Lehane adapted The Drop from his own short story Animal Rescue.
Oliver is, at 32 years old, published in 35 countries and the author of nine books since making her debut in 2010. She is also the co-founder of Paper Lantern Lit, an author-book packaging company that has sold 40 titles to major publishers to date. While YA is her main concern (her latest book Vanishing Girls will be published in March), last fall she released her first adult novel titled Rooms.
UTA negotiated the deal in conjunction with Oliver’s literary agent, Stephen Barbara at InkWell Management.
Universal’s vp production Maradith Frenkel and creative executive Chloe Yellin are overseeing the project for the studio.