Warner Bros. has optioned Brit Bennett’s debut novel and New York Times bestseller, “The Mothers” which will be produced by Kerry Washington under her Simpson Street production company.
Published in October 2016, “The Mothers” tells the following story, courtesy of Amazon.com: Set within a contemporary black community in Southern California, Brit Bennett’s mesmerizing first novel is an emotionally perceptive story about community, love, and ambition. It begins with a secret. “All good secrets have a taste before you tell them, and if we’d taken a moment to swish this one around our mouths, we might have noticed the sourness of an unripe secret, plucked too soon, stolen and passed around before its season.” It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance—and the subsequent cover-up—will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt. In entrancing, lyrical prose, “The Mothers” asks whether a “what if” can be more powerful than an experience itself. If, as time passes, we must always live in servitude to the decisions of our younger selves, to the communities that have parented us, and to the decisions we make that shape our lives forever.
Marking the first feature project between Warner Bros. and Washington’s Simpson Street, at the moment, the actress/producer is attached to only produce, along with Natalie Krinsky (she brought the book to Warner Bros. and Simpson Street) who also wrote the YA adaptation of “I’ll Give You the Sun” for Warner Bros. She is also adapting “In a Dark, Dark Wood” for New Line Cinema.
The author of “The Mothers,” Brit Bennett, will executive produce. A University of Michigan MFA grad, she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers.
Julia Spiro and Courtney Freedman are overseeing the project for Warner Bros.
Washington’s Simpson Street continues to build on its upcoming slate; most recently, Tri-Star picked up adaptation rights to author Aimee Molloy’s novel “The Perfect Mother,” with Kerry Washington attached to star as well as produce via Simpson Street. In addition, Universal Pictures optioned author Natalie C. Anderson’s Kenya-set murder mystery “City of Saints & Thieves” (described as “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” meets “Gone Girl”) for Washington’s Simpson Street shingle and Will Packer’s Will Packer Productions to produce.
Theories that ABC’s “Scandal” TV series, which Washington stars in, is indeed nearing its end (it was renewed for another season), may find support in all the above news, as Washington seems to be setting up for life after that Shondaland drama ends.
Washington is repped by CAA, Katherine Atkinson at Washington Square Arts and Gretchen Rush.
Krinsky is repped by CAA, Gotham Group, and Dan Black at Greenberg Traurig.
And Bennett is repped by Paradigm on behalf of Julia Kardon of Mary Evans Inc.