'Imitation Game' Banner Black Bear Adapting Naoise Dolan Debut Novel 'Exciting Times' for TV

Exciting Times Cover - P - 2020
Credit: HarperCollins

The Irish author has been likened to 'Normal People' scribe Sally Rooney.

The hunt for the next Normal People is already on.

Black Bear Pictures, the production company behind The Imitation Game, Mudbound and Suburbicon, has optioned the rights to Naoise Dolan's debut novel, Exciting Times, ahead of its U.S. launch on June 2 by Ecco (HarperCollins).

Already a critical hit after launching earlier this year in the U.K., the book — exploring the complex relationships of a newly arrived Irish expat in Hong Kong — has seen Dolan likened to Normal People author Sally Rooney (aside from their writing, they both studied English at Trinity College Dublin, while an excerpt of Dolan's debut novel was first published in an Irish literary magazine when Rooney served as editor). 

The banner's TV division Black Bear Television will now develop and produce Exciting Times for the small screen, with Black Bear president and CEO Teddy Schwarzman, plus Ben Stillman and Michael Heimler set to executive produce alongside Dolan.

"I think my love of dialogue is clear from the book, so I’m thrilled to partner with Black Bear to bring the characters to a TV audience, and even more so to be involved as an executive producer," said Nolan. "Black Bear is discerning, independent-minded and very engaged with the novel, so it will be a privilege to work together on this project."

Added Schwarzman: "We immediately fell in love with Naoise’s honest, wry and intelligent prose, and her ability to depict remarkably complex yet utterly relatable characters. We believe Naoise is an extraordinary voice, with a huge future ahead of her, and Black Bear is honored to play a part in bringing her rich material to life."

The deal was brokered by Nicky Lund of David Higham Associates on behalf of Dolan.