Brad Pitt’s Plan B production company has optioned film rights to Tom Rachman’s debut novel The Imperfectionists, the author confirmed to ScreenDaily.
While he refrained to speak about any financial or negotiations details, Rachman did say the producers from Plan B contacted his agent, Susan Golomb, to forge the deal. “I am elated, it’s marvelous. One of the things with this book is that a lot of people who read it said it would make a great film, and I was delighted that Plan B felt similarly,” Rachman told ScreenDaily in a phone interview from London.
The Pitt deal came just weeks after an extremely positive review by novelist Christopher Buckley landed on the front page of the Sunday Book Review of the New York Times. Buckley compared the narrative to a Rubik’s Cube and said the book “is so good I had to read it twice to figure out how he pulled it off.”
Rachman’s debut has actually been going strong since its completion when the title nabbed a six-figure publisher’s advance at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2008 from Dial Press, part of Random House – in a deal which was already long shot for any writer in the current economy.
“Many publishers were interested at the auction and we went with Dial,” he said. “It all happened in a manner of days. It was one of the most thrilling weeks of life, I went from being another aspiring would-be novelist to having enough [money] to write on. It was one of the most joyous moments in my life.”
The Imperfectionists is about a struggling English-language newspaper in Rome founded in the 1950s by an American businessman named Cyrus Ott, run today by his grandson Oliver. Characters include the ego-driven reporter, willing to betray his own kid as a source, the resident lonely heart and of course, the “grammar cop” as well as one reader.
“It has tragic and comic parts to it,” says Rachman of the story.
While some have said the newsroom in The Imperfectionists is thinly veiled as the International Herald Tribune offices in Paris, where Rachman worked editing stints as he wrote the novel Rachman denies this. Rachman also worked as an AP correspondent in Rome for several years.
“People who know either or both places acknowledge it’s not like those places, it’s not depiction of where I worked. You wouldn’t recognize the people” [from those newsrooms], Rachman says.
Rachman, who was born in London and raised in Canada, studied Film Theory at the University of Toronto before going on to work for the AP in New York. In addition to Rome, he has been on assignment to Turkey, Japan, South Korea and Egypt. He has also reported from India and Sri Lanka.
The author, age 35, now resides in Rome where he is working on his second novel, which he says is top secret.