Universal Pictures has entered into a first-look production deal with “The Notebook” author Nicholas Sparks to bring three of his more recent novels to the big screen, starting with last year’s runaway hit “The Wish.”
Sparks and Anonymous Content will partner to produce three feature films for Universal, each one based on one of his most recent books, though only a film based on “The Wish” was announced on Tuesday.
Zack Hayden will produce “The Wish” on behalf of Anonymous Content with oversight by Anonymous Content CEO Dawn Olmstead and CCO David Levine, alongside Theresa Park, Sparks’ longtime literary agent and collaborator, and Universal Pictures’ Vice President of Production Development, Lexi Barta . No director or screenwriter was set for the project.
“The Wish” begins in 1996 and follows a teenager named Maggie Dawes who is sent away to live with an aunt she barely knows in a remote village in North Carolina, only to meet the handsome Bryce Trickett, who has just been accepted into West Point Academy. The story picks up in 2019 as Maggie is now a renowned travel photographer grounded over Christmas who recounts the story of her old love from her to her young assistant from her.
“Nick Sparks’s evocative novels have served as beloved cultural touchstones, with strong characters and powerful themes that make them ideal for cinematic adaptation,” Universal Pictures president Peter Cramer said. “We are honored to partner with Nick, Theresa, and Anonymous Content on these new films, which we know will build upon his successful track record of captivating audiences around the globe.”
“Nicholas Sparks has given us over twenty novels and nearly as many films, each of which deftly evokes every single possible human emotion,” Anonymous Content CEO, Dawn Olmstead said. “Through page and screen, he pulls readers and viewers deep into these character’s lives and more than ever, we need these stories and feel so connected to their themes of love, family, hardships, and resilience. We are thrilled to team up with him, Theresa, and the team at Universal to bring more of these epic love stories to audiences.”
“An author could not ask for better producing partners than Anonymous Content, whose taste and history of making award-winning film and television are undisputed. Zack, David and Dawn are as savvy and sophisticated as they come,” Sparks said. “Furthermore, it has always been my dream to have my film adaptations at Universal Pictures –they are truly the gold standard, famous for their high-quality dramas of all kinds. As for longtime executives Donna Langley and Peter Cramer, their class, reputations and success speak for themselves.”
Sparks’ books have sold over 105 million copies across 23 titles, and 11 of those have been adapted into feature films, including “The Notebook,” “A Walk to Remember,” “Dear John,” “The Longest Ride” and more. And a Broadway musical adaptation of “The Notebook” is currently in development.
“The Wish” in particular published last September and hit #1 on the New York Times bestsellers list. Sparks 23rd novel “Dreamland” will be published in September of this year.
Theresa Park previously partnered with Sparks on the feature films “The Best Of Me” (Relativity, 2014), “The Longest Ride” (Fox 2000, 2015) and “The Choice” (Lionsgate, 2016), all based on Sparks’ novels . A literary agent and co-founder of Park & Fine Literary and Media in New York City, she is also the principal of Per Capita Productions.
Sparks is represented by Howie Sanders, co-head of the Anonymous Content Media Rights Department, Park & Fine Literary and Media, and Scott Schwimer Esq.