Warners has picked up the rights to the book Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler for an adaptation to be produced by Roy Lee of Vertigo Entertainment.
The book is described as a cross between Driving Miss Daisy and The Help, and Warners’ development is noteworthy in two ways.
It signals the studio’s newfound willingness to seek out the adult audience that made Argo an Oscar winner and financial hit and goes against the studio’s usual mode of developing big spectacle tentpoles.
It is also a new path for Lee, the producer who made his name initially with successful remakes of Asian thrillers and now produces larger canvas genre fare such as the Oldboy remake and the upcoming LEGO animated movie.
Home, which is Kibler’s debut novel, centers on the relationship between an 89-year-old woman named Isabelle McAllister and her hairdresser, a black single mother named Dorrie Curtis.
McAllister enlists Curtis’ help to drive her from her home in Arlington, Texas, to a funeral in Cincinnati. Along the way, McAllister reveals the secrets of her past, in which she fell in love with the black son of her family’s housekeeper to tragic consequences. The book alternates between the present and the late 1930s.
Home was released Feb. 12, garnering strong reviews by Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly. The weepie is proving to be a readers favorite on book sites such as GoodReads and many are pegging it as this year’s Help, which became a word-of-mouth sensation and eventual Oscar-winning movie.
The studio and Lee will now seek out a writer to adapt the material.
Kibler is repped by Jody Hotchkiss of Hotchkiss and Associates.