The book, a suspenseful thriller set in an exclusive arts conservatory, has sold more than 180,000 copies in English since publishing in 2017 and is available in 14 languages.
If We Were Villains follows seven young Shakespearean actors at an elite college where competition is fierce, rivalry is dangerous, and the line between life and art is dangerously thin. When tragedy strikes in their final year and one turns up dead, the others face their greatest acting challenge yet: persuading the police, and themselves, that they are blameless.
Canada-headquarted Blink49 and the UK’s Eleven will co-produce, with Executive Producers Jamie Campbell executive producer and Jennifer Pick the co-executive producer for Eleven. Carolyn Newman and Virginia Rankin of Blink49 Studios are also exec producers, along with Rio, Tony-nominated producer Christopher Maring of CM Stage Productions, Andrew Williamson, Henrik Meyer and Enuka Okuma.
No writer is yet attached, and international distribution details haven’t yet been set.
Blink49, which former eOne TV chief Morayniss set up last year, currently has shows such as an adaptation of Marissa Stapley’s romantic drama Things To Do When It’s Raining on its slate, while Eleven is lining up the likes of BBC, Sony and Stan co-pro Ten Pound Poms, about British families who began new lives in Australia in 1956 under the Australian government’s immigration scheme of the time.
Rio is represented by Sugar23 and the Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Literary Agency.