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HBO is set to tackle the late literary icon Norman Mailer for a telefilm that Tina Brown will executive produce.
The pay cabler has set up an untitled project that chronicles Mailer’s relationship with prisoner Jack Abbot, who helped the author with his 1980 Pultizer Prize-winning book The Executioner’s Song, widely considered to be Mailer’s greatest achievement.
Stephen Schiff, who most recently penned Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, is writing the screenplay.
The HBO film will kick off with Mailer mentoring inmate Abbot, helping him gain parole and write his own book, In the Belly of the Beast. But true to the themes in the prisoner’s book, the long institutionalized Abbot commits murder while on parole, jeopardizing Mailer’s career and reputation and forcing him to confront his responsibility in the tragedy.
Brown is exec producing alongside Mailer’s son Michael Mailer and Lydia Pilcher. Another Mailer son, John, is co-producing with Lawrence Schiller.
Brown, a founder of the Norman Mailer Center who worked with Mailer during her days as editor of The New Yorker, brought the project to HBO with Michael Mailer, who sources say was instrumental in gaining access to correspondence between Abbot and the literary giant.
Schiff is repped by ICM and Industry Entertainment.
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