Anne Rice's Racy 'Sleeping Beauty' TV Adaptation Sets Writer (Exclusive)

Thania St. John will pen the drama for Televisa USA.
Courtesy of The Lippin Group
Thania St. John

TV’s potential answer to Fifty Shades of Grey has found a writer.

Veteran writer-producer Thania St. John (Chicago Fire, Covert Affairs) will pen the adaptation of Anne Rice’s best-selling book series The Sleeping Beauty, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Televisa USA (Lifetime’s Devious Maids) acquired TV and digital rights to the erotic BDSM trilogy in September with plans to produce it as a TV series. A network is not yet attached.

Read more Anne Rice's 'Sleeping Beauty': TV's New 'Fifty Shades of Grey'?

First published in 1983-85 as The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment and Beauty’s Release, the series is set in a medieval fantasy world. The books center on a young princess who, like Sleeping Beauty, is awakened from her long sleep — only in a more provocative fashion than in the fairy tale.

The controversial series — an underground cult hit that has gained new life thanks to Fifty Shades — is among the American Library Association’s list of 100 most frequently challenged books of the 1990s, and includes steamy and very detailed sex scenes.

Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club producer Rachel Winter, a longtime fan of the novels, approached Rice about developing the book series for TV in 2012 and will executive produce alongside Rice. Endemol North America CEO Charlie Corwin and Jessica Matthews, former CAA motion picture lit agent turned producer, also will exec produce. Televisa USA managing director Paul Presburger will oversee.

“Thania’s voice resonates perfectly and will keep this story true to my original vision of this erotic, romantic and fun tale of dominance and submission,” Rice said.

Chris Philip, head of global production and distribution at Televisa USA, added: “Thania is the obvious choice to translate Anne’s brilliant works to television. She knows how to write for women and tell this compelling story, which couldn’t happen at a better time.”

Ryan Likes, Televisa USA COO, said: “Interest in this project is extremely high and, with Thania on board, we expect to be out in the marketplace with The Sleeping Beauty TV series within the next few months.”

St. John, repped by CAA and Circle of Confusion, also counts Grimm, Unnatural History, Drop Dead Diva, Eureka, Huff, Roswell and Lois & Clark among her numerous credits.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@THR.com
Twitter: @Snoodit

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