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Gotham Group Options James Beard American Foodie Biography (Exclusive)


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The Gotham Group, producer of the Maze Runner movie trilogy, is headed to the kitchen with its latest project.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein’s management-production company has optioned John Birdsall’s The Man Who Ate Too Much, a biography about James Beard, the American food world legend. And Gotham has tapped David Gilbert and Andrew Sean Greer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the novel Less, to adapt the book about the pioneering chef and food writer.

Birdsall’s biography of Beard, who died in 1985, recounts how America’s first foodie raised eyebrows by retooling French cuisine to create the gourmet hamburger as well as having lived as a closeted gay man for most of his life until 1981.

Besides being a prolific cook book writer, Beard pioneered the first nationally-televised cooking show, I Love to Eat, which debuted on NBC in 1946, decades before Julia Child and then Food Network made teaching Americans to cook via the TV set commonplace.

Screenwriter David Gilbert is currently adapting Mark Seal’s non-fiction The Man in the Rockefeller Suit for Searchlight Television with Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favorite) directing and executive producing. Andrew Sean Greer’s novels include The Story of a Marriage and The Confessions of Max Tivoli, named as one of the best books of 2004 by the San Francisco Chronicle and winner of a California Book Award.

Gotham’s recent producing credits include the film Stargirl for Disney+ and All Together Now for Netflix, and the company is in production on Wendell & Wild at Netflix, in collaboration with Jordan Peele and director Henry Selick. The indie banner also produced the Netflix 2018 film Kodachrome, with Jason Sudeikis, Elisabeth Olsen and Ed Harris.

On the TV side, Gotham is developing Washington Black, based on Esi Edugyan’s acclaimed novel, with Selwyn Hinds adapting, Anthony Hemingway directing and Sterling K. Brown producing.

Gilbert is repped by Bill Clegg and The Gotham Group.  Greer is repped by Lynn Nesbit at Janklow & Nesbit and Michelle Weiner at CAA.

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