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

Televisa USA is adapting the book trilogy with 'Dallas Buyers Club's' Rachel Winter
Rachel Winter (inset)

Has the small screen found its own Fifty Shades of Grey?

Televisa USA (Lifetime's Devious Maids) has acquired TV and digital rights to Anne Rice's best-selling book series The Sleeping Beauty, with plans to produce the erotic BDSM trilogy as a TV series, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

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 fairytale.

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 former CAA motion picture lit agent-turned-producer Jessica Matthews will also exec produce. Televisa USA managing director Paul Presburger and chief creative officer Michael Garcia will oversee.

"I wrote this to be fun, in the belief that dominance and submission can be romantic and delightful as well as erotic," said Rice, who noted in February that she's prepping a fourth book in the series.

Added Garcia: "Now is the perfect moment for this project. On the heels of such boundary-pushing adaptations as Fifty Shades and HBO's Game of Thrones, the topics explored in this series are in the zeitgeist and we feel television is finally ready for them. We are now going out to writers and talent, and will put all the creative, production and distribution elements in place quickly."

Should Sleeping Beauty go to series, it would be Rice's first scripted show after Showtime adapted The Feast of All Saints as a miniseries in 2001. Her film credits include Interview With the Vampire, Queen of the Damned and Exit to Eden.

For Televisa, Sleeping Beauty comes as the banner is expanding its footprint on the TV side. The network also produces ABC Family's Chasing Life and Lifetime's Marc Cherry drama Devious Maids.

The deal was brokered by CAA and Christine Cuddy of Kleinberg Lange, Janklow & Nesbit, Jackoway Tyerman and Loeb & Loeb. Rice is also repped by Janklow & Nesbit.

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