Newly minted television studio Platform One Media has struck a deal to acquire the Launch Pad Manuscript Competition winner MR. & MRS. AMERICAN PIE from LP alum Juliet McDaniel. The book, which marks McDaniel’s prose debut, landed a publishing deal with Launch Pad partner Inkshares and will be the first project fast-tracked under Laura Dern & Jayme Lemons’ new first-look deal with the company.
Pitched as being in the vein of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Little Miss Sunshine, the story takes place in 1969 and centers on Maxine Hortence, a perfect housewife enjoying a perfect Palm Springs lifestyle right up until the moment her husband reveals he’s leaving her for his pregnant secretary during their Thanksgiving dinner. Banished to Scottsdale following her public meltdown, Maxine sets out to prove she’s perfect housewife material by entering Mr. and Mrs. American Pie, a beauty pageant for America’s best housewife. There’s just one problem: Maxine needs a family. She ropes her closeted bartender into marrying her, gets two offbeat kids from her apartment complex to pretend to be her children, and sets out to win the competition by hook or by crook.
The project, which was shopped by Katrina Escudero of UTA, will see McDaniel adapt her book for the small screen and will see Elisa Ellis of Platform One, Adam Gomolin of Inkshares and Rock Shaink of Romark Entertainment join Dern and Lemons of their newly launched Jaywalker Pictures as executive producers.
Prior to writing Mr. & Mrs., McDaniel had set up multiple projects around town as a screenwriter, including the award-winning film QWERTY, which was released in 2012, but transitioned to prose following the discovery that her late grandmother, Marcella Higgins, had been Mrs. Minnesota and 4th runner-up for Mrs. America in the 1950s. McDaniel has said that it was her hilarious stories about the ridiculousness of being a competitive beauty queen housewife that inspired the story, and luckily that her grandmother was only about 45% as insane as the character Maxine who is based on her.
McDaniel, who is already hard at work at her next book, is represented by UTA.