The book to movie adaptation of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park is officially in the works!
Rights to the book, which were once in the hands of Dreamworks before reverting back to Rowell, have now been acquired by Picturestart and Plan B.
“This book is very close to my heart, and I’ve always felt very cautious about adapting it,” Rowell said about the news. “But everyone at Picturestart and Plan B has so much respect for the story and the characters. I really feel like I couldn’t have found a better group of people to trust with Park and Eleanor — and I can’t wait to see this project come to life.”
The film has already launched an Instagram account, where Rowell says you’ll find the latest news.
In 2014 we reported that Dreamworks had picked up Rainbow Rowell’s New York Times bestseller, Eleanor & Park for adaptation. Rowell was even on board to write the screenplay for the story of two “star-crossed misfits” who fall in love in 1986.
In 2016, the chances of an Eleanor & Park movie coming into existence seemed slim. Rowell announced on Twitter (in a now-deleted tweet) that the film was no longer in development and the rights had returned to the author.
Gotten lots of E&P movie questions lately. As of now, the Eleanor & Park rights are back with me and not in development. But maybe someday!
— Rainbow Rowell (@rainbowrowell) August 8, 2016
Hypable spoke to Rowell in September 2016 and she expanded on the chain of events: “DreamWorks optioned it, I worked on a screenplay, and we worked together for a year and a half or so. It just got to the point where they were not going to make it, and that option timed out, and the rights came back to me.”
As for writing the screenplay, she told us, “I just wanted a shot at it. I just wanted to see if I could do it.”
But Rowell’s desire to pen the screenplay went beyond testing her own abilities. “I’m very protective of Eleanor and Park because they’re the easiest to hurt,” she said. “Those two characters would be the easiest to get wrong.”
Some authors are less fortunate. When John Green sold the rights for Looking for Alaska to Paramount in 2005, he undoubtedly struck a far less generous deal than Rowell. Green is not involved in the Looking for Alaska film and additionally, the rights still haven’t returned to him despite Alaska’s rocky and uncertain production.
The process of writing the screenplay wasn’t traumatic enough to put Rowell off writing another one. In fact, the author even told us that if another one of her books was optioned, she would happily take a shot at writing the screenplay.
“Every book I’ve written would be easier to adapt than Eleanor & Park,” said Rowell.
Eleanor & Park was Rowell’s second (and arguably best) novel. It was followed by the equally great Fangirl.