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DEADLINE – Imperative Entertainment just won an auction for the novel Tangerine with George Clooney and Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse on board to produce and Scarlett Johansson attached to star. The story is about two women whose lives intersect more than once and both times leads to the death or disappearance of one woman’s significant other. The deal was said to have gone down for mid-six figures against $1M+.

This is the second big literary purchase Imperative has made in only a few months, following its $5M deal in March to acquire David Grann’s Killers of the Flower Moon: An American Crime and the Birth of the FBI. Eric Roth was brought in recently to adapt that book, which was in a bidding war at the time also with Clooney (and others).

Tangerine is the debut novel of Christine Mangan and comes after its publisher is Ecco/HarperCollins bought the publishing rights for $1.1M earlier this week before turning it out to set up as a feature film.

The mystery/thriller set in 1950s Morocco is about a woman named Alice Shipley who tries to leave both her past and her college roommate behind after the man she intends to marry suddenly dies. Years later, she reconnects with that same roommate, Lucy, and then Alice’s husband disappears. The mystery leaves Alice to wonder if Lucy is as dangerous as she thinks or whether she is imaging things.

The project will also be produced by Imperative partner’s Bradley Thomas and Dan Friedkin with Smokehouse’s Clooney and Heslov.

“Christine has created an evocative and electrifying novel,” said Friedkin. “We’re thrilled to not only be working with George, Grant and the talented team at Smokehouse Pictures but also one of the most skilled actors on the planet in Scarlett. This is an all-star team, and we can’t wait to bring this stunning tale to life.”

Jillian Apfelbaum, Imperative’s VP Content, will oversee development and also co-produce. The book joins a number of other recently acquired novels by Imperative, including the New York Times best seller We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, Sand by Hugh Howey and Circling the Sun by Paula McLain.

Clooney and Heslov are repped by CAA along with Johansson, who also is repped by manager Rick Yorn of LBI Entertainment and attorney Kevin Yorn. CAA brokered the deal, and John Atwood negotiated on behalf of Imperative. The book deal for Tangerine was negotiated by CAA and the Book Group.

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