It’s not unprecedented for a digital video creator to turn to the literary world for inspiration. Bernie Su has earned Emmys for his shows “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and “Emma Approved,” adapted from the Jane Austen classics “Pride and Prejudice” and “Emma,” respectively. Both but both of those works were in the public domain (i.e. free).
Today, New Form Digital announced that it is paying actual money to option “Being Audrey Hepburn,” a novel by Mitchell Kriegman, creator of the classic Nickelodeon TV series “Clarissa Explains It All” (1991–1994). It plans to adapt the book — about a teenage girl of limited means whose life is transformed after she tries on Hepburn’s iconic Givenchy black dress from the 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” — into a 12-part digital series, due in 2016.
Optioning a novel is an old school, old media move, but that’s in line with New Form Digital’s DNA. Billed as a next generation studio devoted to incubating new talent and developing original series for digital platforms, it was launched in the spring of 2014 as an independent venture backed by Discovery Communications, Imagine Films chairmen Ron Howard and Brian Grazer and co-chairman Michael Rosenberg, attorney Craig Jacobson, former Tribune Broadcasting president Ed Wilson, former William Morris chief Jim Wiatt and CAA.
Kriegman is a four-time Emmy winner who has also served as the executive story editor on the animated series “Ren and Stimpy,” “Rugrats” and “Doug,” as well as a writer and filmmaker for “Saturday Night Live.” “Being Audrey Hepburn” is his debut novel. His next novel, novel, “Things I Can’t Explain: A Clarissa Novel,” will be published by Thomas Dunne Books on Nov. 10, 2015.
New Form Digital’s upcoming project slate includes a pair of series for Vimeo On Demand — PJ Ligouri’s “Oscar’s Hotel For Fantastical Creatures,” debuting Sept. 15, and Sawyer Hartman’s “Parallax,” debuting Sept. 22.