John Grisham's 'Pizza' gets pickup

Phoenix Pictures nabs film rights to best-selling novel

Phoenix Pictures has picked up the movie rights to John Grisham's best-selling novel "Playing for Pizza."

The company's Mike Medavoy, Arnie Messer and David Thwaites will produce.

The story centers on a washed-up NFL quarterback who finds a new perspective on life and a love for all things Italian when his agent lands him a deal to play with a semi-professional team in Parma, Italy. The novel is one of Grisham's' few non-legal tomes, and it ironically came together when the lawyer-turned-author was in Italy researching "The Broker."

A search for a writer in the project is under way, with the company looking to put together the project in a similar fashion it did with "Zodiac" and the Martin Scorsese/Leonardo DiCaprio project "Shutter Island," which is in production for Paramount.

A Grisham adaptation was a Hollywood staple for much of the 1990s, with such translations as "The Firm," "The Client," "The Pelican Brief," "The Chamber," "A Time to Kill" and "Runaway Jury." "Christmas With the Kranks" also was a Grisham adaptation, based on the novel "Skipping Christmas."

George Clooney's Smokehouse is developing "The Innocent Man," Grisham's sole nonfiction work.

Grisham is repped by the Gernert Co.