Sep 25, 2018
DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD reporter Anthony D'Alessandro
Warner Bros. Pictures, on behalf of Sue Kroll, has taken the film rights to Annie Ward’s debut thriller, Beautiful Bad, which Kroll will produce through her Kroll & Co. Entertainment banner.
The highly-sought-after novel originally sold to Quercus (UK) and Park Row Books (US) in a seven-way auction. With international rights sold in over a dozen territories, the US publication date is set for March 2019.
Beautiful Bad tells the story of a thrilling romance and destructive friendship between Maddie, Ian and Jo from The Balkans to England, Iraq to Manhattan, and ultimately to an ordinary family home in Kansas. Maddie and Ian’s seemingly perfect life starts to unravel when their estranged friend Jo returns, and Ian begins to show signs of PTSD. The tension between the group grows fraught and the situation intensifies, culminating in a desperate crime. At its core, this shocking novel tells the devastating story of three friends face to face with manipulation, turmoil and tragedy, unable to outrun their tangled and tumultuous past.
“From the very first pages of Beautiful Bad, I was completely hooked. I found the lives of its wonderful, surprising characters and the global and intriguing landscape they inhabit absolutely riveting. On the one hand, the novel carries the suspense of a truly unpredictable psychological thriller— it kept me guessing to the very end. Alongside that intrigue, however, is also a poignant and heartbreaking love story between the closest of friends,” said Kroll of the new project. “It’s a superb and gripping novel, and I’m thrilled to work with Annie and Warner Bros. to bring it to life on screen.”
“The first time I spoke with Sue Kroll was like being reunited with a dear friend who understands. It was not just her passion for the overall project but also her compassion for my characters that made me realize her vision was uncannily in sync with what I had only dared to dream. It’s stunning to be suddenly and utterly certain that you’re speaking with the right and kindred mind to cultivate something you hold precious. I’m deeply grateful for the fact that Sue Kroll and Warner Brothers found me and Beautiful Bad. It feels magical and yet at the same time like fate,” added Ward.
Ward has a BA in English Literature from UCLA and a MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute. Her first short screenplay, Strange Habit, starring Adam Scott was an official selection of the Sundance Film Festival and the Grand Jury Award winner at the Aspen Film Festival. She has received a Fulbright Scholarship and An Escape to Create Artists residency. Ward is repped by Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency and CAA.
Upcoming for Kroll is Warner Bros.’ A Star Is Born, on which she is an executive producer. The film, which made its Hollywood premiere last night, launched out of Venice and TIFF to stellar reviews, quickly becoming a hot-buzzed awards season title. The pic’s opening domestic weekend forecasts for Oct. 5-7 are well north of $30M for the Bradley Cooper feature directorial debut in which he stars opposite Lady Gaga; he also co-wrote and produced.
Also down the road for Kroll & Co. is Edward Norton’s crime drama Motherless Brooklyn due out next year; John Crowley’s The Goldfinch, based on Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel opening Oct. 11 next year; and the DC action adventure Blackhawk with Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment.
Additionally, Kroll serves as Producer on Cathy Yan’s DC film Birds of Prey starring Margot Robbie, who also produces alongside Bryan Unkeless, which will begin production January 2019 and open Feb. 7, 2020; The Six Billion Dollar Man, starring Mark Wahlberg; Nemesis with producers Ridley Scott and Jules Daly; an untitled comedy starring Sandra Bullock, who will also produce; the YA drama The Selection; a film based on Peter Kornbluh’s Politico article “My Dearest Fidel: A Journalist’s Secret Liaison with Fidel Castro” with producers Gal Gadot and Jaron Varsano; and an adaptation of Jonathan Lethem’s The Feral Detective.