Announced on Saturday evening, Fox Searchlight has won the day-long bidding war for the Anne Frank-based spec script Keeper of the Diary.
The bidding war was between Fox Searchlight, Paramount, Amblin, and Studiocanal. Fox Searchlight will reportedly pay the high six figures for the script. The spec was written by team Sam Franco and Evan Kilgore.
The story begins with Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, at the end of WWII in 1945. Otto Frank had lost all his family members, and all he had left was Anne’s diary. He typed out the diary papers into a single manuscript and edited out sections he thought were too personal or too ordinary to be of interest to the general reader (as such, Otto Frank is now recognized as a co-author of the diary).
The diary found a Amsterdam publisher in 1947, but still Frank desired international publication. He then allegedly wandered Europe, trying to find publishers. In NYC, Barbara Zimmerman, an ambitious 24 year-old junior editor at Doubleday Publishers, was the one to come across the work. Zimmerman, who would later become a esteemed publisher and establish the New York Review of Books, would join Otto in his quest for publication as she believed the work could change the world’s perspective of the Holocaust. Ironically, Zimmerman was the same age that Anne would have been had she survived. The diary was published in English in 1952.
Producers Matti Leshem and Lynn Harris, as part of Weimaraner Republic Pictures, will produce the film. The story is one that the producing team can personally relate to; Leshem lost his grandmother in the Holocaust, and his father is a survivor.
Keeper of the Diary does not yet have a release date.