Netflix has emerged winner in a fierce bidding war that will see Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington reunite for the first time since 1993’s The Pelican Brief.
The streaming giant has landed Leave the World Behind, an upcoming novel by Rumaan Alam, with Sam Esmail, the creator of Mr. Robot and Homecoming, set to write the adaptation and direct it. Roberts and Washington are attached to star.
The novel will be published this fall by HarperCollins imprint Ecco. It follows a husband and wife as they head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation with their teenage son and daughter. When the owners of the rental return in a panic one night after they say a sudden blackout has swept through the city, the couple aren’t sure what to believe. With the TV and internet down and no cell service, the two families are forced into a tense living situation. Themes dealing with race, class, and parenthood are tackled.
Esmail had a strong relationship with Roberts after working together on Homecoming. And Roberts, once piqued, sent the book to Washington.
Several major studios and streamers put in bids for the package, with it coming down to Netflix, Apple and MGM, each of which have spent the past several weeks vying for splashy packages, including Will Smith starrer Emancipation and George Miller’s latest, Three Thousand Years of Longing.
Netflix ultimately prevailed for Leave the World Behind, with sources saying that the winning bid is in the range of Apple’s deal for Emancipation, which was over $100 million.
Esmail will produce with his producing partner Chad Hamilton and their Esmail Corp., Robert will produce with her Red Om Films, and Washington will also act as producer.
Roberts is repped CAA and Hirsch Wallerstein while Washington is repped by WME. Esmail is repped by CAA and McKuin Frankel. Alam is repped by CAA and The Book Group.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter