Amy Pascal and Rachel O’Connor will produce the adaptation of Mark Sullivan’s novel, which follows Pino Lella (Holland), a normal Italian teenager who enjoys an idyllic life until WWII breaks out, prompting the boy to take action and join an underground railroad to help Jews escape to safety before he’s forced to enlist with the German Army on his 18th birthday.
Assigned to drive Adolf Hitler’s trusted general Hans Leyers, Lella has a front-row seat to the upper echelons of the Third Reich, and it’s not long before he’s recruited as spy for the Allies. Lella helps turn the tides of the war from right under the noses of Nazi leaders, and in the course of doing so, he also falls for a young woman named Anna.
Averie Huffine, a creative executive at Pascal Pictures, found the book and will shepherd the project for the company.
Pascal is currently producing Steven Spielberg’s The Papers, which is expected to be a prime contender this awards season thanks to Oscar winners Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, who play the two leads in the journalism drama. Pascal hasn’t set up Scarlet Sky at any studio yet, but Sony is her home base, and the studio is already in business with Holland on both the Spider-Man and Uncharted franchises.
Holland can currently be seen in the indie Pilgrimage, and he’s preparing to star in Doug Liman’s YA adaptation Chaos Walking with Daisy Ridley and Mads Mikkelsen. He’s represented by WME and Curtis Brown Group.
Sullivan is a former investigative journalist and Peace Corps volunteer in Africa who has written several books with James Patterson. He is still in touch with Lella, who just celebrated his 91st birthday in Milan, Italy.
Deadline broke the news about Beneath a Scarlet Sky, which has been selling well since its release on May 1 from Lake Union Publishing.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief