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Emily Henry to Adapt Bestseller “Funny Story” into a Feature Film

Emily Henry’s latest bestseller, Funny Story, will soon be transformed into a feature film, with Henry herself handling the screenplay, according to Variety.

Released on April 23 by Penguin Random House, the novel will be brought to the screen by Lyrical Media and Ryder Picture Company.

The tale is described as a “shimmering, joyful story about a pair of opposites with the wrong thing in common.” It centers on Daphne, a children’s librarian nursing a broken heart after ending her engagement to Peter. Peter realizes too late that he is in love with his childhood best friend, Petra.

Stranded in Peter’s lakeside hometown, Daphne winds up as roommates with Petra’s ex, Miles. Despite being almost complete opposites, they strike up a friendship and concoct a plan to either get revenge on or make peace with their exes, whichever plan prevails.

This is the first instance of Henry adapting her own book into a screenplay. Producers for the movie include Alexander Black and Natalie Sellers of Lyrical Media, along with Aaron Ryder and Andrew Swett of RPC. Henry will also serve as the executive producer, joined by Jon Rosenberg from Lyrical, while Emma Rappol of RPC will co-produce. No director has been announced yet.

Funny Story debuted at the top of the New York Times and USA Today Bestsellers lists and has sold over 800,000 copies in North America alone since its release. Henry’s cumulative sales of all her books exceed 7.5 million in North America.

Her previous romance novels are also hitting the screen. Beach Read (2020), People We Meet on Vacation (2021), and Book Lovers (2022) are all being developed into feature films. Her 2022 novel Happy Place is set to become a Netflix TV series, with Jennifer Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions handling production. Henry will co-write the pilot episode.

Yulin Kuang is set to write and direct Beach Read for 20th Century Studios with Original Film producing. Kuang will also adapt People We Meet on Vacation, directed by Brett Haley for 3000 Pictures. The screenplay for Book Lovers is being adapted by Sarah Heyward, known for her work on HBO’s Emmy Award-winning series Girls.

Henry has released five number one bestsellers over the past five years, all without extensive book tours or a large social media presence. Although she’s not on TikTok, her books certainly are, becoming popular among users of the platform.

Henry first captured readers’ attention with Beach Read, released in May 2020, just a few months after global lockdowns began. Amanda Bergeron, Henry’s editor from Berkley, said to the New York Times, “A lot of people were looking for something that would bring brightness, comfort, and warmth, while also not shying away from grief. Beach Read delivered all that.”

Henry’s impressive sales were particularly notable since she had written four young adult books before venturing into adult fiction with Beach Read. Conventional wisdom suggested this transition would be challenging, but her sales numbers kept growing with each new release, all achieved without tours or significant social media activity. Though Henry does maintain an Instagram account.

The film adaptation of People We Meet on Vacation was announced in late 2022, followed by announcements for Book Lovers and Beach Read within a month of each other last year. This year, Happy Place was confirmed for a series adaptation, shortly followed by news of Funny Story‘s adaptation.

With so many projects underway, Henry might have to step out of her comfort zone and start touring to support her various ventures. As of now, all projects are still in development and have no set release dates.

Hollywood is fully embracing the BookTok wave, with no end in sight. Many current streaming hits and films are book adaptations, including FX’s critically acclaimed Shōgun, the Dune movies, Netflix’s 3 Body Problem, and the massively successful regency romance Bridgerton.

Not that anyone is complaining. In fact, it’s been a long time coming.

Source: Variety