'Kill Your Friends' Author John Niven Adapting 'Straight White Male' for TV

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John Niven

Banijay's Yellow Bird U.K. banner has optioned the TV rights to Niven's 2013 book.

Yellow Bird U.K., part of TV giant the Banijay Group, has optioned the rights to Straight White Male, the 2013 novel by Scottish writer John Niven.

Niven – author of Kill Your Friends, which was made into a film starring Nicholas Hoult and James Corden in 2015 – will adapt his own book, which follows the personal and professional misadventures of unreconstructed Irish writer Kennedy Marr.

For 15 years, he has lived the high life in L.A., womanizing, writing movies and spending every dollar he earns. He’s got away with it because he’s charming and talented and delivers when it matters, a literary wunderkind whose novels took him from humble roots in Cork to Hollywood success, via a doomed marriage.

But now, time – in the form of a huge unpaid tax bill – has caught up with Kennedy. To keep the IRS at bay, he’s forced to return to England to accept a lucrative prize from the English department of a red-brick university in deepest Warwickshire.

The series will be executive produced by Yellow Bird U.K.'s Berna Levin (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Hidden and The Girl in the Spider’s Web) and Luke Franklin (The Man in the High Castle, Ransom, Parade’s End).

"I've long thought that Straight White Male had all the ingredients for a great TV series, and that Kennedy Marr’s singular approach to life and love is more relevant than ever," said Niven. "Getting the chance to develop the show with Yellow Bird U.K., who share my passion for this character, feels ridiculously fortunate."

Added Levin, creative director for Yellow Bird: "In his brilliant novel, John Niven not only skewers the crisis of contemporary masculinity in a compassionate, comic, and provocative way, but he’s created one of the most memorable fictional anti-heroes of our time, Kennedy Marr. Kennedy often says what we all wish we could say, and his undeniable flaws mask a compelling, emotionally engaging character, who I’m thrilled we’re bringing to life on screen."

Straight White Male will be the second project from Yellow Bird U.K., following its recent announcement of Young Wallander, which has been commissioned by Netflix.