Dean Koontz's "Husband" Headed for the Big Screen

by | April 10, 2006 | Comments

Horror author Dean Koontz might know how to spin a spooky yarn, but as far as his books’ cinematic cousins are concerned … yuck. (Try sitting through a triple feature of Watchers, Hideaway, and Phantoms, and then tell me I’m nuts.) But Focus Features and Random House seem pretty high on Koontz’s new book, the as-yet-unpublished The Husband, because they’re already starting on the big screen version.

Dean Koontz, the author whose every book is a multi-million copy bestseller in the U.S. and around the world, has sold his forthcoming novel The Husband to Focus Features and Random House Films for their new filmmaking partnership. James Schamus, President of Focus Features, part of NBC Universal, and Peter Gethers, President, Random House Films, a Random House, Inc. division, made the announcement today.

The Husband will be published on May 30th in hardcover in the U.S. and Canada by the Bantam Books imprint of Random House, Inc. The initial printing will be more than half a million copies. Development on the film version takes effect immediately.

Mr. Koontz’s new novel is the story of an ordinary working man whose love for his wife is put to a harrowing series of tests over a 60-hour period, beginning when his peaceful workday is shattered by a phone call from a stranger.

The author’s books have sold more than 300 million copies worldwide to date, with over 17 million sold each year. 44 of his novels have been New York Times bestsellers; 10 have reached the #1 position in hardcover, 14 in paperback. The Times has praised his writing as “psychologically complex, masterly and satisfying.” Mr. Koontz is published in 38 languages; his German publisher is Heyne, an imprint of Verlagsgruppe Random House.

Mr. Koontz commented, “Because the people at Focus understand both story and subtext, they make narratively engaging, intelligent movies. Their creative but faithful adaptations of books into films have been remarkable. I am delighted to be working with James Schamus at Focus, with Peter Gethers at Random House Films, and with all their talented associates.”

Mr. Schamus said, “The Husband will be a major book event from Bantam, and the film version will be a major movie event from Focus. Dean Koontz has a written a wonderful, suspenseful novel, one which merits comparison to the best of Hitchcock; our goal is to create a film of the quality that we brought to our film version of John le Carré’s The Constant Gardener.”

Mr. Gethers added, “Dean Koontz is a master of writing about the necessity of lovc in a world that is all too often dominated by evil. In returning to that theme in The Husband, he has told a story that will make for a film equal parts touching and terrifying. We’re thrilled that Dean, who has such a longstanding relationship with Random House, Inc., is joining us in our new partnership with Focus Features.”

The Husband is the third Random House, Inc. title acquired by the joint venture. In the multi-year deal announced last November between the publisher and Focus Features, the companies will develop movies together and co-finance and co-produce a substantial slate of feature films for theatrical release, all based on books published by Random House imprints in North America and internationally. Random House Films and Focus jointly acquire film rights for the books and partner together on script development, director selection, all phases of production, and marketing and publicity. Films co-produced by Focus with Random House Films will be jointly owned, with Focus holding worldwide distribution and sales rights.

In February, the joint venture announced its first two projects. They are films to be adapted from The Attack, a contemporary Mideast-set novel by Yasmina Khadra to be published in May by Random House, Inc.’s Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group imprint Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in the U.S. and the Random House U.K. Group’s William Heinemann imprint in the U.K.; and the narrative nonfiction book Curveball, investigative reporter Bob Drogin’s look inside the advent of the Iraq war, due out from Random House in the fall of 2007.

Current and upcoming Focus Features releases include Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (winner of 3 Academy Awards, including Best Director); Rian Johnson’s Brick, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (winner of a Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival); Gaby Dellal’s On a Clear Day, starring Peter Mullan and Brenda Blethyn; Peter Cattaneo’s family film Opal Dream; the untitled film directed by Phillip Noyce and starring Tim Robbins and Derek Luke; Allen Coulter’s Hollywoodland, starring Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, and Ben Affleck; and Shane Acker’s animated fantasy epic 9, produced by Tim Burton and Timur Bekmambetov and Jim Lemley & Dana Ginsburg.

Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) is a motion picture production, financing, and worldwide distribution company committed to bringing moviegoers the most original stories from the world’s most innovative filmmakers.

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