Lionsgate has emerged the winner of a filmed rights auction for the Steven Rowley novel “The Guncle.”
Published only a week ago via Penguin Random House, the bestselling author’s new book follows a former gay television star who takes in his young niece and nephew after a tragic accident. Entering his reclusive world in Palm Springs, the kids are introduced to his outsized life and unique wisdom which brings healing for all three.
Rowley will adapt the screenplay as well as executive produce alongside Kristin Burr through her Burr! Productions. Rob Weisbach will also produce, with Jessica Friedman of Burr! as co-producer.
“We’re always drawn to stories about people finding connection or growth where they least expect it. This is a fresh, unexpected and heartwarming story of healing grief – a poignant look at family that feels of this moment. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Kristin and Steven and Rob on this wonderful story that will have everyone wishing they had a Guncle too,” said Erin Westerman, president of production for the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group.
Rowley’s two previous bestsellers are also in development for feature adaptation, including “Lily and The Octopus” at Amazon and “The Editor,” the story of a young novelist whose assigned editor is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The latter was set up at 20th Century with Greg Berlanti attached to direct.
James Myers and Scott O’Brien will oversee “Guncle” for Lionsgate. Rowley is repped by CAA and Rob Weisbach Creative Management.
“For anyone who’s ever had a guncle – or any uncle they love deeply but can’t imagine as a parent – this movie is for you. Steven’s novel is equally laugh-out-loud funny as it is insightful, and he has great ideas about how to adapt it for the screen,” said Burr.
Burr (“Cruella”) is also a producer on Lionsgate’s upcoming “The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent,” starring Nicolas Cage. Her projects in development include an adaptation of the novel “The Kiss Quotient.”