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Andrew Pyper sells manuscript to Universal Pictures, Simon & Schuster

The film rights to Andrew Pyper’s forthcoming novel, The Demonologist, have been optioned to Universal Pictures.

The book follows a Columbia University professor and demonology expert who uses Milton’s Paradise Lost as a guide to the underworld, where he plans to rescue his daughter who killed herself while seemingly under demonic possession. The big screen adaptation will be produced by ImageMovers, the company behind Cast Away, Polar Express, and Beowulf and co-owned by director Robert Zemeckis (Romancing the Stone, Back to the Future, Forrest Gump).

Along with the movie deal, Pyper has recently secured a North American home for the book with Simon & Schuster. (Orion had already picked up U.K. rights before the North American deal was made.) S&S acquired the book at auction in a six-figure deal arranged by Anne McDermid of Anne McDermid & Associates and Stephanie Cabot of the Gernert Company in New York. (McDermid arranged the film deal along with Howie Sanders at United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills.)

Pyper’s last book, 2011’s The Guardians, was published by Doubleday Canada, which also released The Killing Circle in 2008. He’s also previously published with HarperCollins Canada and The Porcupine’s Quill.

On his website, Pyper writes the forthcoming book is “something of a creative departure for me “ or perhaps more an escalation “ and so it feels right for it to have a new home. I’m inspired by the brainstorms I’ve already had with my editor at S&S, Sarah Knight, and hope this is the beginning of a long, happy marriage.”

S&S will publish The Demonologist early in 2013. In the U.K., Orion will publish the book in October of this year.