Chernin Entertainment has acquired Challenger Deep, the YA novel by Neal Shusterman that was the center of a bidding battle last week after it won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature a couple of weeks ago. The deal was made out of Chernin’s discretionary fund. We’re hearing that so far this has not been set up at 20th Century Fox where Chernin has a deal.
The book tells the story about a 15-year-old boy afflicted with schizophrenia who imagines himself on a pirate ship voyaging through the Pacific Ocean. It is inspired by Shusterman’s son Brendan and his struggle with mental illness; Brendan’s illustrations are featured throughout the novel. HarperCollins published the book in April and it won the National Book Award
Shusterman will co-produce and adapt the screenplay with Underground’s Trevor Engelson producing alongside Chernin Entertainment. His previous novels include the Unwind trilogy, and he is also co-writing a backdoor pilot for Disney XD with Eric Elfman based on their middle-grade series The Accelerati Trilogy.
He is repped by APA, Underground and attorney Shep Rosenman.
Original story appeared on Deadline.