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MAY
15
5 MOS

Dave Franco to Star in 'Intern's Handbook' for Sony (Exclusive)

Sony Pictures nabs screen rights to the Shane Kuhn book with Oren Uziel attached to adapt.

The Intern's Handbook Split - H 2014
Courtesy of Simon & Schuster/AP/Invision
"The Intern's Handbook" cover; Dave Franco

Sony Pictures has nabbed the rights to The Intern's Handbook: A Thriller, with plans to turn the project into a vehicle for actor Dave Franco.

Oren Uziel, who worked on Sony's upcoming 22 Jump Street, in which Franco appears, is on board to write the script, based on a novel by Shane Kuhn.

Neal Moritz and Ori Marmur of Original Film -- the company behind the Jump Street movies -- will produce along with Circle of Confusion's Brad Mendelsohn and David Alpert.

The idea behind Intern's Handbook is thus: There's a company called HR, Inc., an intern placement agency that is actually a front for a network of assassins whose targets are high-profile corporate executives. The best of the best in this world is John Lago, who can get coffee and make copies like no one else while stealthily ratcheting up a body count.

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The story tells of Lago's stint in a Manhattan law firm, where he's working as a temp while gathering intelligence for his hit. He then meets his toughest adversary yet: a female FBI agent assigned to take down the same target.

Bullets and sparks fly.

The well-reviewed dark comedy hit shelves April 8, 2014, from Simon & Schuster, as part of a planned trilogy. Sony is looking at Intern's Handbook as a potential franchise.

The acquisition, said to be in the high six figures, marks a step up for Franco, who has so far not toplined his own movie, but has done strong supporting work that has earned him a following.

The actor, who is repped by CAA, is currently sharing scenes with Zac Efron and Seth Rogen in Universal's surprise hit comedy Neighbors. Among his other credits are both Jump Street movies, Warm Bodies and Now You See Me.

"We really feel like he's the next star," said Moritz. "We just think he has immense talent as a leading man, and he's someone who can do humor. He's paid his dues. He's built a great resume of co-starring roles, and he's ready to be a lead. He's not some guy being plucked from nowhere and told he's the next big thing."

Moritz says the producers see Intern's Handbook as "a franchise made for a price with new emerging talent."

The producer also described the book as having a "great attitude. It's a look at what it's like to be an intern, but in reality you're so much more. The mantra is that interns are invisible, which makes them so good as assassins. No one sees them coming."

Kuhn will executive produce. Hannah Minghella, Sony Pictures' president of production; Lauren Abrahams, vice president of creative production; and creative executive Eric Fineman are overseeing for the studio

Kuhn is repped by Circle of Confusion and attorney Jeff Frankel. Uziel, who also worked on Sony's Men in Black 4 and for Moritz, the spec Overnight, is repped by WME, Circle of Confusion and attorney David Fox.

Email: Borys.Kit@thr.com
Twitter: @borys_kit