Universal Pictures announced on Thursday that it is developing a new romantic thriller called “Love and Theft” with Will Packer Productions, based on the 2020 novel by Stan Parish.
The novel follows Alex Cassidy, a thief who has just pulled off a wild $22 million jewel heist in Las Vegas, and while hiding in New Jersey, falls in love with a party planning business owner named Diane. Alex is ready to leave his life of crime behind to start a new life with Diane, but when both of their grown children are kidnapped by a cartel, Alex is forced into one last job to win their freedom.
Leon Chills, who has served as a story editor on Netflix’s “Spinning Out” and Amazon’s “The Wilds,” will adapt the screenplay. Will Packer and Johanna Byer will produce for Will Packer Productions while WPP’s Alvie Hurtado and Universal Pictures’ vice president of production development, Lexi Barta, will oversee the project.
Universal and Will Packer Productions have been in a production partnership since 2013, with films like “Girls Trip” and “The Photograph” among those produced through the first-look deal. Packer is also set to serve as producer for this year’s Academy Awards, taking over from Steven Soderbergh.
Leon Chills is represented by Jordan Lonner at UTA; Mikhail Nayfeld at Heroes and Villains; Jeff Hynick at Jackoway; Parish is represented by CAA; Barer at The Book Group and Heroes and Villains. Love and Theft was published by Penguin Random House through their imprint at Knopf Doubleday.