'Circling the Sun,' Tale of Female Aviator Beryl Markham, Getting Movie Treatment (Exclusive)

Circling the Sun - P 2015
Courtesy of Ballantine Books

Imperative Entertainment has optioned Paula McLain's bestselling novel "Circling the Sun," which tells the tale of record-setting aviator Beryl Markham.

The novel, a work of historical fiction, is set in colonial Kenya in the 1920s. It centers on the life story of Markham, who became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic from east to west. Raised in Kenya, Markham cultivated a love for adventure beginning at a young age, but when it came to love, she found herself in one disastrous relationship after another. She eventually became involved in a love triangle with safari hunter Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, and, through her relationship with Hatton, discovered her love for flying.

The book, which hit shelves on July 28 via Ballantine, debuted on The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today Bestseller Lists. McClain previously wrote the hit 2011 novel "The Paris Wife," a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway's marriage to Hadley Richardson.

Lauren Sanchez is producing with Imperative Entertainment partners Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas. Tim Kring is executive producing and vp content Jillian Apfelbaum overseeing for the company.

"I've known about Beryl Markham since I was a young girl," Sanchez, who is a pilot as well, tells THR. "She's that feminine icon that no one knows about. We want her story to be told."

Sanchez says they plan to shoot in Africa, and are currently looking for a writer for the female-driven story.

"She was a pioneer for women," says Sanchez. "Everyone says Hollywood is looking for female-driven roles and stories —  this is one of them."

Imperative, which has features with Ruben Fleischer and Black List scribe Zach Dean in the works, is repped by WME and attorney Adam Mehr. McLain is repped by CAA for film and Julie Barer at The Book Group for publishing.