Migrant Border Crossing Movie 'American Dirt' in the Works From 'Blood Diamond' Writer (Exclusive)

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Imperative Entertainment will produce the ripped-from-the-homepage drama about a mother and son trying to cross the border into the U.S.

Imperative Entertainment, the production banner behind the Clint Eastwood hit The Mule, has acquired the rights to American Dirt, the Mexican migrant drama novel by Jeanine Cummins.

Charles Leavitt, the scribe who penned the Leonardo DiCaprio drama Blood Diamond, has been tapped to write the adaptation, which will be produced by Imperative’s Dan Friedkin and Bradley Thomas.

Mixing ripped-from-the-homepage headlines with thriller elements, the story centers on a Mexican mother and son who are the sole survivors after cartel drug traffickers kill her husband and family. The pair undertake an arduous journey to America and safety, fleeing the cartel while also enduring the harsh conditions of the migrant trail.

American Dirt was the object of a massive publishing bidding war when nine book houses fought over it. Flatiron Books came out on top of the Dirt pile, paying a seven-figure sum. The book, which is slated to be published in 2020, also has been sold to eight foreign territories.

Imperative’s The Mule, which stars Eastwood and Bradley Cooper, has made over $90 million domestically since its Dec. 14 opening. The company was also behind All the Money in the World, another true-life story, which netted an Oscar nomination for star Christopher Plummer. The company is betting big on book adaptations and has lined up high-profile talent such as Angeline Jolie for The Kept and DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese for Killers of the Flower Moon.

Leavitt is a longtime writer who counts Warcraft: The Beginning and Ron Howard’s 2015 whaling drama In the Heart of the Sea among his credits. He is repped by Paradigm and Lichter Grossman.

Cummins was repped in the deal by ICM Partners on behalf of Sterling Lord Literistic.