Sharp Indie gets its flick off Route 66


Sharp Independent at HarperCollins continues to beef up its development slate, acquiring rights to Michael Zadoorian's upcoming dramedy novel "The Leisure Seekers."

The project, which has echoes of "The Bucket List" and "About Schmidt," revolves around an elderly couple who, to the chagrin of their children, head off on an impromptu RV trip down Route 66, determined to enter their twilight years on their own terms.

The book, which simultaneously was acquired by HarperCollins division William Morrow, is scheduled to be released in spring 2009.

"Seekers," Sharp Independent CEO Jeff Sharp noted, "reminds us of a time when the journey was the destination and all of our dreams fit into a station wagon packed full of kids." William Morrow editor Jennifer Pooley, who acquired the book, called it an "offbeat love story."

Zadoorian wrote "Second Hand," a well-received debut novel featuring a slacker male protagonist set amid kitschy thrift stores.

Sharp Independent, run by noted indie producer Sharp ("Boys Don't Cry," "You Can Count on Me"), draws from the vast amount of new and library material at HarperCollins.

"Seekers" adds to a Sharp slate that already includes a number of high-profile projects, including one based on Meg Cabot's "Queen of Babble" series and a tale revolving around astronauts' private lives (HR 1/17).

"Seekers" is a rare case of a joint acquisition by film and publishing sides of a company and an example of how a combined entity can leverage its strengths in both areas. While several other film labels that have sprung out of publishing companies touted the possibility of joint buys, most film deals come for books that already have been acquired by the publisher.

Sharp noted that the joint acquisition "says as much about our collective vision as it does about the impact that Michael's work has had on all of us."