T.J. Newman’s Drowning: The Rescue of Flight 1421,will be headed to the big screen after a startlingly competitive auction for the screen rights, Deadline reports.
Warner Bros. won the rights to the thriller novel by the former flight attendant, paying $1.5 million against $3 million. The studio beat out four other bids, all over $1 million.
Newman’s novel, set to be published on May 30 by Avid Reader, tells the story of a commercial airline flight that crashes into the Pacific Ocean, sinking to the bottom, and the efforts to save the trapped passengers. In a starred review, a critic for Kirkus called the book “a taut, gripping yarn. Not for the weak-kneed.”
The book is the follow-up to Newman’s 2021 bestselling debut, Falling, another thriller set in an airplane. That book was also the subject of a bidding war, with Universal Studios winning the film rights for $1.5 million.
Others who were interested in nabbing the rights to Drowning were Jerry Bruckheimer, Damien Chazelle, Nicole Kidman, and M. Night Shyamalan.
Producing the Drowning adaptation will be Shane Salerno, the screenwriter known for films including Shaft and Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Salerno is also producing the adaptation of Falling. Newman will serve as an executive producer on the Drowning film.
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.