It was an offer they couldn’t refuse.
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The agency will represent the media rights to the author’s novels with the goal of sales for motion picture and streaming minseries adaptations.
Puzo is best known for Godfather, his 1969 novel that was on the New York Times best-seller list for 67 weeks and reportedly sold 9 million copies in two years. The author gained further fame when Francis Ford Coppola adapted the book into the classic film starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. Paramount may own those rights, but APA is betting that in this age of insatiable hunger for stories, there will be plenty of interest in the author’s many other works.
The agency has already begun discussion with producers regarding Puzo’s as-yet-unadapted novels including: Fools Die, his first novel post-Godfather, which melds gambling, organized crime and Hollywood; The Dark Arena, a tragic love story set in corrupt post-World War II Germany and Puzo’s debut novel; The Fourth K, in which fictional Kennedy heir transforms from an idealistic politician into a vengeful, warmongering U.S. president following a terrorist attack on New York; and The Family, Puzo’s take on the infamous Borgia clan, filled with sin, lust for power, and violence.
Some of Puzo’s other novels have been previously adapted for the big and small screen. Among them are Six Graves to Munich, translated into a 1982 Rex Harrison spy thriller; A Time to Die; The Fortunate Pilgrim, adapted into a 1988 NBC miniseries starring Sophia Loren; The Sicilian; and The Last Don, adapted into a CBS miniseries in 1997 starring Danny Aiello and Joe Mantegna.
“Mario Puzo created legendary characters and stories, and there is more to mine from his incredible novels that, in the right hands, will fascinate audiences,” said the author’s son, Tony Puzo. “APA has a great track record of partnering with talent and getting stories on screen, and we’re excited for this next chapter of my father’s work.”
In the post-CAA-ICM Partners acquisition landscape, APA is moving aggressively to establish itself as a top agency player, signing seasoned agents, new and established talent, and, as the Puzo signing shows, growing its literary estate business.
APA already represents The Truman Capote Trust, with the author’s In Cold Blood in development at Apple with Gary Oldman and Douglas Urbanski producing, and the estates of Arthur C. Clarke and Richard Wright, among others. Wright’s recently unearthed manuscript The Man Who Lived Underground was a high-profile sale to Paramount for producers Kenya Barris and Ashok Amritraj last year.
Also on APA’s literary roster are authors Lee Child (Jack Reacher), Charlaine Harris (True Blood), Caleb Carr (The Alienist), Robyn Carr (Virgin River) and C.J. Box (Big Sky).
As it signs with APA, the Puzo Estate will also continue to be repped by Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents.