Folks, I’ve got a little bit more information on the Pioneer Woman Movie deal for your reading pleasure.
Interestingly enough, Ree told me that the deal was not something she actively pursued or that an agent ever had to shop around. That’s right, the people from Sony pictures came to her about a movie possibility after they had read an article in the LA Times about the blog last year prior to the release of The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. Ree had several conversations with them, and determined that a partnership would fit, since the executives really seemed to understand the love story and all of its elements, i.e. “the humor, the adventure, the conflict, my developmentally disabled brother Mike, my divorcing parents, and a couple of other circumstances that will come to light in the book” and so she decided “it would be nothing but fun to move forward with them.”
[By the way, that crashing sound you just heard was the sound of the skulls of all the failed screenwriters at the Starbucks at the corner of Franklin and Highland in Hollywood cracking against their Mac laptops in unison as they realized that there is a faster way to get an unsolicited movie deal than drinking $5 coffee, wearing clean jeans that are made to look dirty, and going to AA meetings at the Lodge in West Hollywood. And now, they're all rushing out to get fitted for chaps, and trying to track down someone who can set up their WordPress installs. Call me, guys, mmkay? I digress.]
The source I cited this morning claimed that the option signed was a deal for the story behind the entirety of ThePioneerWoman.Com, and this is not true. It is actually only for the love story, “Black Heels To Tractor Wheels,” which will be published in a book next February. I decided to ask Ree a couple other questions, and she was kind enough to humor my rudeness, lack of manners, and insatiable curiosity. Below are my questions and her answers; I’m sure this story will continue to be updated as the project progresses, but below is a better idea of the deal thusfar.
Did you ever think Reese Witherspoon would be playing you?
Reese is interested in the project, but has not committed to it. I think a screenplay would have to come first, then she’d decide whether or not to move forward. (Actually, the book would have to come first. Which means I have to finish the book first.) I think she’d do a wonderful job, and I hope she does it.
Do you have any say in any of the creative choices of the movie?
I don’t think I would have any official up or down vote, but judging from the interaction I’ve had with Laura Ziskin and Pam Williams (producers), if I had a strong objection or preference I’m sure they would consider my feedback.
Does this deal give you a piece of the backend, or was it a flat fee upfront sold along with your book rights?
Through my literary agent, I enlisted the help of a film agent to do the negotiation since I obviously knew zilch about it. I wound up with a good, standard deal in which I would receive a fee up front, then be compensated based on the movie’s budget, not based on box office receipts. The whole thing definitely has a ceiling, which is fine with me since I won’t be the one doing the bulk of the work.
Who are you going to get to make your dress for the premiere? Can I offer suggestions for great LA hairstylists?
Can I not wear jeans? Because that’s all I wear. Will that be a problem?
I’m guessing that it won’t be a problem, actually, Ree. I think you’ve already showed us you’re going to make your own rules in this game. Congrats!