By Ray Pride

Marc Webb, Nick Hornby, Bill Pohlad, Condé Nast, Bruna Papandrea And Reese Witherspoon Team Of Bio Of Westboro Baptist Escapee


River Road and Condé Nast Entertainment Producing along with Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea and Marc Webb

The Script to be Adapted from a New Yorker Article by Adrian Chen and Phelps-Roper’s Soon-to-be-Published Memoir

Marc Webb will direct and Nick Hornby will write the upcoming feature film “This Above All,” based on the true-life story of Megan Phelps-Roper, a former member of the Westboro Baptist Church. The film is being adapted from both an article written by Adrian Chen for Condé Nast’s The New Yorker and from Phelps-Roper’s soon-to-be-published memoir.

As the granddaughter of the famous founder of the Westboro Baptist Church, Phelps-Roper grew up espousing the teachings of her family, preaching God’s power and damning those who sinned. She became one of the most powerful voices on social media for Westboro, where she used both a picket sign and her Twitter handle to doggedly protest everything from cultural events to funerals, until her ongoing conversations with opponents over Twitter led her to question her belief system. With her mind open to a different way of seeing the world, she and her younger sister made the difficult decision to leave the Church—and be disowned by their family—in order to find a life governed by love.

Dawn Ostroff and Jeremy Steckler of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ), Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea for Made Up Stories, Marc Webb, and River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad will produce. River Road will finance.

“Megan’s extraordinary story says so much about so many things in contemporary America, and I’m really excited about this project,” said Hornby. “I’m looking forward to working with the brilliant Marc Webb, CNÉ and with my friends Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea and River Road, with whom I enjoyed such a good relationship during the making of ‘Wild.’”

“When we read The New Yorker article about Megan’s incredible journey, we knew that it was the perfect fit for CNÉ’s film group, which focuses on compelling and timely stories from Condé Nast’s vast library of publications,” said Ostroff, president of CNÉ, and Steckler, CNÉ’s executive vice president of feature films. “Marc and Nick both have a powerful vision of how to tell Megan’s story and we are very happy to be partnered with Reese, Bruna and Bill, who understand the importance of bringing this project to the big screen.”

The deal was negotiated by Christa Zofcin Workman for River Road with CAA representing CNÉ, Megan Phelps-Roper, Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea and Mark Webb. Hornby is repped by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates Ltd. Phelps-Roper is also represented by Melissa Flashman at Janklow & Nesbit Associates. The book by Phelps-Roper will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

About River Road Entertainment

River Road Entertainment is one of the leading independent production companies known for developing, producing and financing distinguished feature films and documentaries that astonish, inspire, reveal and provoke.

In the last ten years, River Road has produced and financed some of the most significant independent films, including the 2014 Academy Award-winning Best Picture 12 YEARS A SLAVE, directed by Steve McQueen; the 2011 Palme d’Or winner of the Cannes International Film Festival THE TREE OF LIFE, directed by Terrence Malick and starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain; Jean-Marc Vallée’s WILD starring Reese Witherspoon and Laura Dern; and Ang Lee’s BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, all multiple Academy Award nominees. Other River Road films include Bill Pohlad’s LOVE & MERCY; Sean Penn’s INTO THE WILD; Doug Liman’s FAIR GAME; Robert Kenner’s documentary FOOD, INC.; Ang Lee’s LUST, CAUTION; Robert Altman’s A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION; and Juan Antonio Bayona’s A MONSTER CALLS.


About Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ)

Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ) is an award-winning next generation studio and distribution network with entertainment content across film, television, premium digital video, social, and virtual reality. In just six years since inception, CNÉ achieved profitability for its digital business ahead of schedule, reached TV-like scale for many of its digital videos, and has won Emmy and Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as garnered Academy Award and Peabody nominations. Culling from IP across Condé Nast’s iconic publishing brands, including Vogue, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ and Wired, CNÉ has produced series for Netflix, Investigation Discovery, Amazon, and more; and currently has feature films with Sony and Fox Searchlight. In addition, the Next Gen Studio produces and distributes over 5,000 pieces of original digital video content a year delivering more than 4.5 billion video views. CNÉ has an extensive digital distribution network of nearly 50 partners across 4,000 websites and ranks #23 in unique viewers in comScore’s Top 100 Properties, ahead of Hulu, Twitter, Vice, BuzzFeed, Defy and Awesomeness.



Comments are closed.

Quote Unquotesee all »

“I think [technology has[ its made my life faster, it’s made the ability to succeed easier. But has that made my life better? Is it better now than it was in the eighties or seventies? I don’t think we are happier. Maybe because I’m 55, I really am asking these questions… I really want to do meaningful things! This is also the time that I really want to focus on directing. I think that I will act less and less. I’ve been doing it for 52 years. It’s a long time to do one thing and I feel like there are a lot of stories that I got out of my system that I don’t need to tell anymore. I don’t need to ever do The Accused again! That is never going to happen again! You hit these milestones as an actor, and then you say, ‘Now what? Now what do I have to say?'”
~ Jodie Foster

“If there’s one rule Hollywood has metaphysically proven in its century of experimentation, it’s that there’s no amount of money you can’t squander in the quest for hits.

“Netflix has spent the past couple years attempting to brute-force jailbreak this law. Its counter-theory has seemed to be, sure, a billion dollars doesn’t guarantee quality but how about three billion dollars? How about five billion dollars? Seven?

“This week’s latest cinematic opus to run across no-man’s-land into the machine-gun emplacements has been the Jared Leto yakuza movie ‘The Outsider.’ Once again, debuting on Netflix, another thing called a movie that at one glance doesn’t look like any kind of movie anyone has ever seen before, outside of off-prime time screenings at the AFM.

“If you’re working at a normal studio, you have one or two of these total misfires in a year and people start calling for your head. How many is Netflix going on? Fifteen? Twenty? This quarter? Any normal company would be getting murdered over results like that.”
~ Richard Rushfield