Warner Bros. Picks Up Rights to 'Calling Me Home' (Exclusive)

 St. Martin's Press

Warner Bros. has picked up the rights to Julie Kibler's book Calling Me Home 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 a best picture Oscar winner and financial hit and goes against its usual mode of developing big spectacle tentpoles.

It is also a new path for Lee, the producer who initially made his name with successful remakes of Asian thrillers and now produces larger-canvas genre fare such as the Oldboy remake and the upcoming Lego animated movie. (He also produced the 2006 romantic time-travel drama The Lake House, starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves.)

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Calling Me Home, which is Kibler’s debut novel and inspired by events in her family, revolves around 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 from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. The weepie is proving to be a reader favorite on book sites like GoodReads, and many are pegging it as this year’s Help, which became a word-of-mouth sensation and eventual best picture Oscar nominee.

The studio and Lee now will seek out a writer to adapt the material.

Kibler is repped by Jody Hotchkiss of Hotchkiss and Associates and the Elizabeth Weed Agency.

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