Sue Kroll, Warner Bros. to Adapt Elizabeth Gilbert's 'City of Girls'

Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Courtesy of Kroll & Co.
Sue Kroll (left), Elizabeth Gilbert

Michelle Ashford, the creator of TV’s 'Masters of Sex,' is set to write the adaptation.

Warner Bros. has picked up film rights to City of Girls, the latest best-seller from Eat Pray Love author Elizabeth Gilbert.

Sue Kroll will produce through her Kroll & Co. Entertainment banner, with Michelle Ashford, the creator of TV’s Masters of Sex, set to write the adaptation.

Set in the theater world of 1940s New York City, the book is described as a young woman’s exploration of love, sex, self-discovery and friendship against a backdrop of world of dazzling artistes, glamorous showgirls and oversized theater personalities.

City of Girls tracks 19-year-old Vivian Morris, who, having been kicked out of Vassar College, is sent by her parents to live in Manhattan with her aunt. The latter just happens to own a crumbling midtown playhouse, and it’s here where Vivian meets the people who will shape the rest of her life and where she makes a mistake that will lead to a new understanding.

“I completely fell in love with Elizabeth Gilbert's City of Girls," Kroll, who was an executive producer on last year's A Star Is Born, said Monday in a statement. "She created an original, joyful and incredible world of daring characters so vividly painted that you genuinely feel the aspirations, thrill and seduction of living in New York City in that era. And I couldn’t be happier to have the much sought-after Michelle Ashford adapting this material, which is perfectly suited for her. I’m excited to make a fun and splashy film with strong, audacious female voices and this has it all, and more.” 

Said Gilbert, “More than any book I’ve ever written, City of Girls always felt like it wanted to be a movie. The entire time I was writing the novel, I was picturing it on the big screen. Something about the glittering and glamorous sex appeal of the New York City theater world in the 1940s just demands to be brought to life in the most vivid and shining way. The fact that this will be a female-led production makes me happier still, because City of Girls was always meant to be a story for women, and about women.”

Ashford is a veteran writer-producer who made her mark with Masters of Sex, which told the story of pioneering sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, played by Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan. The Showtime series, was set in the 1950s and '60s, ran for four seasons and was nominated for multiple Emmys.

City of Girls is Gilbert’s second book to be adapted for the screen. Her memoir Eat Pray Love was fashioned into the 2010 hit film starring Julia Roberts and directed by Ryan Murphy. Gilbert’s GQ article about her time as a bartender at the NYC Coyote Ugly saloon also was adapted for the screen in 2000.  

Gilbert is repped by The Wylie Agency and Anonymous Content.