Lionsgate Picks Up Rights to 'Luckiest Girl Alive'; Reese Witherspoon to Produce

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Reese Witherspoon

The actress and Bruna Papandrea will produce the film based on Jessica Knoll’s debut novel via their Pacific Standard shingle.

Lionsgate has acquired the rights to the upcoming novel Luckiest Girl Alive, with Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea set to produce through their Pacific Standard banner.

The deal was announced by Erik Feig, co-president of Lionsgate's Motion Picture Group. Jessica Knoll's upcoming novel, to be released on May 12, centers around Ani FaNelli, a 28 year-old New Yorker who appears to have it all, but behind that veneer of perfection is vulnerability she holds close and buries deep.

When that dark trauma resurfaces, FaNellei has a chance to confront her most shocking secret of all, but not without unraveling her meticulously crafted life. "This is one of those rare books that come along every so often that you simply cannot put down,” said Feig in a statement on Friday.

Luckiest Girl Alive and its female-centered plot follows earlier films from Pacific Standard like Wild and Gone Girl that fulfill Witherspoon's ambition to make movies with female leads and challenging storylines. "...I got a great partner (Papandrea) and the first two things I sent her were Gone Girl and Wild. And those were the first books that we optioned," Witherspoon recently a Hollywood Reporter actress roundtable.

Fox Searchlight's Wild, where Witherspoon starred as a sexually daring woman who overcomes personal tragedy during a 1000 mile hike, also allowed the Oscar-winning actress to shed a two-decade-old persona steeped in perk.

"Luckiest Girl Alive is the kind of book that grabs you and doesn’t let go. The hero of the book is a wily, intelligent, complex narrator,” said Witherspoon on Friday in her own statement. Jeyun Choi Munford, vp of production, and creative exec Nirokhi Raychaudhuri will oversee the project on behalf of Lionsgate.

The deal was negotiated by CAA on behalf of Knoll, the novel and the producers.