Janet Zucker, Tony Eldridge Option Cynthia Pelayo Roman – Deadline

EXCLUSIVE: Producer Janet Zucker (fair game, Friends with benefits) opted for the film rights to Cynthia Pelayo’s International Latin Book Award winner Chicago kids for Zucker Productions, with producer Tony Eldridge (The equalizer movies) for Lonetree Entertainment.

The author’s two-time Bram Stoker Prize-nominated horror novel is billed as a gripping, modern take on the Pied Piper fairy tale, as well as a gritty love letter to Chicago’s underbelly. In it, Detective Lauren Medina’s last call leads her to investigate a teenager brutally murdered in Humboldt Park – a crime eerily similar to the murder of her sister decades before. Unlike her partner, she recognizes the crime and new graffiti popping up all over town, as a message: the Pied Piper is back and the debts must be paid.

Mimi Bark/Agora

“Cynthia has done an incredible job crafting a unique, multi-layered story with unforgettable characters that leap off the page and settle ominously into the dark recesses of the mind,” Eldridge said. “It’s a story that continues to haunt long after the last page is read. Janet and I are thrilled that Cynthia has given us the opportunity to bring Chicago kids on the screen.”

“Working with Tony Eldridge and Janet Zucker has been amazing,” Pelayo added. “Tony understands the power and intensity of this story. Janet’s vision was a perfect fit with my goal of communicating the magic and mystery of these characters and the city of Chicago.”

Pelayo is also the author of books including Lottery, Santa Muerte, missing, Poems of my night and poetry collection In the forest and all along. Polis Books’ BIPOC detective imprint, Agora, published its latest work on the Pied Piper legend, which is the first in a series, in February 2021.

Zucker Productions has already produced films including fair game and Friends with benefitsand is also currently developing an adaptation of Ron Wimberly’s graphic novel prince of catswritten by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, Spike Lee and Wimberly, for Legendary Entertainment.

Lonetree Entertainment developed and produced Legalizationr film series starring Denzel Washington and is currently producing the feature film The magician of war starring Benedict Cumberbatch with Colin Trevorrow set to direct.

Pelayo is represented by Lane Heymont at the Tobias Literary Agency.

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