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Richard Powers’ ‘Bewilderment’ Film Rights Sold to Black Bear Pictures, Plan B

Richard Powers (Courtesy of Getty Images)

Black Bear Pictures and Plan B Entertainment have acquired the feature film rights to Richard Powers’ upcoming novel, “Bewilderment,” in a highly competitive situation.

There were multiple bidders circling the project, a degree of interest that’s probably due to the fact that Powers’ previous novel, “The Overstory,” won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and was critically adored. The film version of “Bewilderment” will be financed by Black Bear Pictures, which will also develop and produce the picture alongside Plan B Entertainment.

The novel is set in the near future amid Earth’s slow deterioration. It follows a widowed father of a most unusual and troubled nine-year-old boy, as he turns to an experimental neurological treatment in order to save his son. Powers’ book is due to be published in Fall of 2021 by W. W. Norton & Company — its publication is expected to be one of the year’s big literary events.

“I’m thrilled that this book about a deeply visual boy attuned to the magic of living things will itself get a chance to become visual magic,” Powers said in a statement.

Powers is the author of 12 novels and is also the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and the National Book Award. His works include “The Echo Maker,” “Operation Wandering Soul,” “The Gold Bug Variations” and “Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance.” “The Overstory” is currently being developed for Netflix by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss of “Game of Thrones” fame.

With its first few pages, Powers’ novel completely captivated us and with its last, it bowled us over,” Black Bear’s Head of Film Leigh Kittay said in a statement. “Powers creates a texture and specificity to our future that feels simultaneously sweepingly large and breathtakingly intimate, told through the most relatable point of view: the ferocious love of a parent for his child and his struggle to provide him a better tomorrow. We at Black Bear are honored to bring this beautiful story to the big screen and couldn’t have better producing partners than our friends at Plan B.”

Powers is represented by CAA and Melanie Jackson Agency.

Black Bear’s current slate includes J Blakeson’s thriller “I Care a Lot,” starring Rosamund Pike, Peter Dinklage, Eiza Gonzalez and Dianne Wiest, which was acquired by Netflix following its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. The company also produced Heidi Ewing’s “I Carry You With Me,” which will be released by Sony Pictures Classics; as well as Chad Hartigan’s “Little Fish” starting Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell, which was recently acquired by IFC Films. It has previously produced award-winning films such as “The Imitation Game” and “Mudbound.”

Plan B has produced the best picture-winning movies “12 Years a Slave” and “Moonlight.” Its other releases include “The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford,” “The Tree of Life,” “Selma,” “The Big Short” and “World War Z.” The company backed “Minari” from Lee Isaac Chung, which is expected to be another awards season contender. Plan B recently announced, along with MGM, that it will produce a feature film adaption of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “The Water Dancer,” as well as Sarah Polley’s feature adaptation of Miriam Toews’ bestselling novel “Women Talking.”

Variety's Brett Lang contributed to this post.


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