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UTA agent Jason Richman is getting a promotion. The rep will now co-lead the agency’s media rights group. Richman, who has been at UTA since 2010, will run the group alongside long-time motion picture literary partner Keya Khayatian, who has helped lead the group since 2017.
UTA’s media rights department boasts a wide-ranging roster of authors, books, articles, podcasts, journalists, estates, life rights and thought leaders. The group has closed over 250 deals in the past 12 months alone, including close to 200 deals since the beginning of the global pandemic. Notable ones include Netflix’s forthcoming adaptation of Tanya Smith’s memoir Ghost In The Machine, with Issa Rae and David Heyman producing, and Hulu’s upcoming series adaptation of Zakiya Dalila Harris’ not-yet-released novel The Other Black Girl.
Richman, who was featured on THR’s Next Gen 2020 list, represents a diverse slate of clients including Celeste Ng, Stacey Abrams, Charles Yu, Salman Rushdie, Jesmyn Ward, Erik Larson, Elin Hilderbrand, Jia Tolentino, Samantha Irby, Tuca & Bernie creator Lisa Hanawalt, Lodge 49 creator Jim Gavin, Shrill co-creator Lindy West and The New Yorker journalist and 2020 Pulitzer Prize winner Ben Taub. He also represents The Boston Globe in addition to the estates of Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Walter Dean Myers and Norman Mailer.
Richman helped turn Ng’s bestselling novel Little Fires Everywhere into a hit Hulu series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington. More recently, he negotiated the sale of the rights to Ng’s debut novel Everything I Never Told You to Annapurna TV following a multi-studio bidding war. In addition, he negotiated the deal for Yu to adapt his National Book Award-winning novel Interior Chinatown into a Hulu series.
Other closed series deals include Searchlight Television and Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of David Herbert’s New York Magazine article “Boss of the Beach,” ABC Signature’s adaptation of Melissa Broder’s upcoming novel Milk Fed (with Liz Tigelaar producing) and Annapurna’s adaptation of Ian Parker’s New Yorker article “A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions,” which will be written and directed by Janicza Bravo and star Jake Gyllenhaal.
On the feature side, Richman arranged for Nico Walker’s novel Cherry to be adapted into a film directed by the Russo Brothers and starring Tom Holland, which will debut on Apple TV+ in March. He also set up the Warner Bros. film adaptation of Mary H.K. Choi’s bestselling novel Permanent Record. Choi will pen the project, with Jon M. Chu attached to direct.
Other deals for upcoming features include Gifted, an adaptation of Walter Dean Myers’ biography At Her Majesty’s Request, which Cynthia Erivo will star in and produce; MGM’s adaptation of Jen McAdam’s book Fake!, starring Kate Winslet and written and directed by Scott Z. Burns; and 3000 Pictures’ adaptation of Kevin Wilson’s bestselling novel Nothing To See Here, directed by James Ponsoldt and written and produced by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber.
“Over the course of his career at UTA, Jason has demonstrated an incredible ability to identify emerging and underrepresented storytellers, and amplify their voices within the film and television landscape,” said UTA co-president David Kramer. “Like his clients, Jason is a dynamic thought leader, and I know that together he and Keya will help further expand the Media Rights Group’s success in discovering new artists and bringing their compelling stories to life.”
“I am thrilled to co-lead the Media Rights division with Keya Khayatian,” said Richman. “We share a dedication to ensuring the artists we represent at UTA have the broadest opportunities to develop and adapt their work for the screen, particularly in this moment when the world needs the comfort of great content more than ever. I’m incredibly proud to be a part of UTA, which does this work on behalf of artists better than anyone in the creative community, and look forward to helping lead this team forward in this new position.”
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