Columbia gears up to 'Eat, Pray, Love'

Adaptation of bestseller attracts top talent

Columbia is in negotiations to pick up the movie rights to the bestseller "Eat, Pray, Love" in turnaround from Paramount Pictures.

Columbia is also in the process of making deals with the attached talent, which include Julia Roberts, who would star, and Ryan Murphy, who would write and direct. Also in the mix are Brad Pitt and Dede Gardner, who would produce via their Plan B shingle.

The project is based on Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir "Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia," published by Viking February 2006.

The story focuses on a married woman who seemingly has it all but realizes that she's not living the life she wants. She divorces her husband and sets off on a journey around the world.

Paramount picked up the movie rights for Plan B in 2006 with Roberts joining soon after, followed by Murphy.

While the project's talent alone makes it noteworthy, the turnaround is also attracting attention in the wake of the massive success of "Twilight," a book property that originally was developed at Paramount, which let it go when its commercial prospects were deemed slim.

Columbia is currently doing due diligence to make sure there's a clear chain of title on the project -- in the aftermath of the "Watchmen" court case, most studios are taking extra care to insure that whatever rights they pick up are locked up tight.