Hollywood's Power Authors: 6 Up-and-Comers to Watch

6:00 AM 9/28/2016

by THR staff

From a Jamaican phenom to a seasoned journo, fresh voices are seeing their first Hollywood projects happen.

THR_Margot Lee Shetterly_Janelle Monae_Hidden_Figures4803 - H 2016
Matt Furman

THR_Margot Lee Shetterly_Janelle Monae_Hidden_Figures4803 - H 2016

(Pictured: Margot Lee Shetterly and Janelle Monae)

  • Marie Brenner

    Two of the Vanity Fair writer's stories are in development: one about Atlanta Olympics guard Richard Jewell (pictured), with Jonah Hill starring; another about Marie Colvin, war correspondent for the U.K.'s The Sunday Times (produced by Charlize Theron).

  • Ted Chiang

    Paramount's Arrival, based on one of Chiang's short stories, is generating early awards buzz, including for star Amy Adams. He has won four Hugo Awards and four Nebulas, which honor works of science fiction and fantasy.

  • Hugh Howey

    The self-publishing sensation has his original hit Wool (about a future Earth with unbreathable air) in development with Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox, as well as Half Way Home (about teens stranded on a distant planet).

  • Marlon James

    HBO optioned the Jamaican author's novel about the attempted assassination of Bob Marley, which won the U.K.'s Man Booker Prize in 2015. James is working on his next novel.

  • Margot Lee Shetterly

    Film rights for her first book, the true story of African-American female mathematicians who helped NASA get a man into space, were bought before it had even been written. The Fox film, which opens Jan. 13, stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and musician turned actress Janelle Monae as three of the women working in the Virginia laboratory from the '40s to '60s. "It’s your baby and you want to know it's in great hands," says Shetterly of having her first book adapted. "I think everybody really understands the story and wants to do it justice."

  • Jennifer E. Smith

    Four of her real-world-based YA novels are in development, with an adaptation of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, written and directed by Dustin Lance Black, likely to shoot first.