EXCLUSIVE: MRC Film, through its Elizabeth Cantillon-led romance label, has optioned feature rights to the bestselling Nicholas Sparks novel The Return. Perhaps this sparks the return of romantic films, a genre that the author has contributed to with 11 filmed novel adaptations that include The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe and Dear John. The Notebook is being adapted into a musical with music and lyrics by Ingrid Michaelson.
The film will be produced by Cantillon, Sparks and Theresa Park.
“I’ve been a fan of Nick’s novels and jumped at the opportunity to acquire The Return,” Cantillon said. “Its depiction of an injured veteran in a modern love story is both insightful and sensitive, but most all hopeful. It’s a great story to tell any time, but especially right now.”
The novel, which spent 22 weeks on the bestseller lists, focuses on an injured army doctor who moves into his late grandfather’s home in New Bern, NC, where he encounters two women whose secrets will change the course of his life.
Cantillon, a longtime Sony Pictures exec who produced films there for several years, arrived at MRC earlier this year to start a romance-themed film label. She is in pre-production on Persuasion, which has Dakota Johnson attached at Netflix, as well as adaptations of the novels 28 Summers, Photos of You, and Rosie’s Travelling Tea Shop.
Sparks and Park are repped by Howie Sanders at Anonymous Content and attorney Scott E. Schwimer. Sparks’ publishing rights reps are Park & Fine Literary and Media.