Leonardo DiCaprio-Optioned Manuscript Scores Book Deal

Kayla Olson and Leo DiCaprio Split- H 2016
Courtesy of Kayla Olson; Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

Kayla Olson’s buzzy debut YA novel Sandcastle Empire has been acquired by Harper Teen for publication in summer 2017.

Movie rights were previously optioned by Paramount with Leonardo DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson attached to produce. 

Pitched as The Maze Runner meets The Island of Dr. Moreau, the novel is set in a dystopian future where rising sea levels and global war over scarce resources threaten humanity. Seventeen-year-old Eden escapes from a labor camp and travels to a mysterious island to find her missing scientist father. On the island she discovers secrets that might allow an end to the war. DiCaprio, whose passion for environmental causes is well known, is said to have been attracted to the environmental themes of the manuscript.

Olson snagged a two-book deal with Harper Teen, with Sandcastle Empire envisioned as a stand-alone story. Foreign rights have already sold in France, Spain, Italy and Turkey.

Emilia Rhodes acquired the book for Harper. Olson is repped by Holly Root and Taylor Haggerty at Waxman Leavell, with international rights handled by Baror International and film rights by UTA