Producer Frank Marshall and director Barry Sonnenfeld have teamed up to adapt Perestroika in Paris, the latest novel from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley.
Sonnenfeld is attached to direct while Marshall, the producer behind the Jurassic World and Bourne Identity franchises, will produce via his banner, the Kennedy/Marshall Company.
The intent is to adapt the novel, which features a stable’s worth of talking animals, into a traditional, 2D animated feature a la The Triplets of Belleville.
Perestoika, a screwball comedic satire, tells the story of a curious 3-year-old filly thoroughbred named Perestroika who leaves her stall and finds herself wandering the City of Light’s Eiffel Tower region. Soon, she finds company with Frida, a canny German shorthaired pointer whose owner, a vagabond busker, has recently died; Raoul, a sage raven who keeps a perch on a Benjamin Franklin statue, and a pair of squabbling mallards, Sid and Nancy. But the question of just how long a racehorse can remain ambling in Paris gets more complicated when the animals befriend a young boy living with a very ill, blind and deaf great-grandmother in an old mansion, and authorities begin to close in.
A search for a writer to adapt the material will commence shortly.
The novel was published in late 2020 and was the prolific Smiley’s first adult novel in five years. The author, who has received the PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Award for Literature and the Fitzgerald Award for Achievement in American Literature, is known for her works The Greenlanders, A Thousand Acres, and the trilogy known as The Last 100 Years.
The material lines up with the galloping interests of Marshall, one of Hollywood’s biggest horse lovers, who produced Seabiscuit, the 2003 Oscar-nominated inspirational drama about the Depression-era racehorse.
The project will be the first trio into animation for Sonnenfeld, best known as the helmer behind the blockbuster Men in Black trilogy and the 1990s Addams Family movies. He last directed the well-regarded series adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events for Netflix.
Smiley was repped in the deal by The Gotham Group alongside literary agent Lucy Carson of The Friedrich Agency. Sonnenfeld is repped by WME, Mosaic and Ziffren Brittenham. Marshall is repped by Ziffren Brittenham.