Reported by Rebecca Marie-Taylor.
Bestselling novel The First Phone Call from Heaven, published last November by Harper and written by Mitch Albom, has been acquired by Warner Bros. Although Albom has been quite successful as a writer, this is his first feature deal, and was brokered by CAA and The David Black Agency. Denise DiNovi and Alison Greenspan will produce the film, with Chantal Nong and Cate Adams overseeing for Warner Bros.
The novel centers on a small town in Michigan, where people start getting strange calls from voices saying they’re calling from heaven. There are mixed reactions to the calls: fear, love, religious affirmations, etc. But one widowed father decides to investigate the calls; to find out whether it’s all a hoax, or if the calls really are from the afterlife.
Although Albom rose on a career as a sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, he’s been a successful novelist, penning Tuesdays With Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, both bestsellers and both spiritually inclined.
Several other studios have been getting into projects that take a look at spiritual issues, to varying degrees. Paramount has been fighting the media backlash over upcoming biblical epic Noah. Sony Pictures and Summit Entertainment have taken on less polarising pictures, with Randall Wallace’s Heaven is for Real and the adaptation of William Paul Young’s novel The Shack, respectively. This trend in films that raise existential questions show that studios are paying attention to how well these books are doing, and catching on to certain audiences’ need to believe in something larger than life.