Fox now has the life rights of Jim Obergefell, the leading plaintiff in the lawsuit which, just last month, recognized the right to gay marriage for all in the US. Obergefell had married his partner, the late John Arthur, in Maryland in 2013, only to see their home state Ohio refuse the marriage, so Obergefell sued. His lawyer, Al Gerhardstein, also sold life rights to Fox.
The studio also nabbed screen rights to Obergefell and co-author/journalist Debbie Cenziper’s yet-to-be-written book, under working title “21 Years to Midnight,” on the proceedings. A publishing deal is expected to land this week.
The film will be produced by Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen, who steered entries in the “Twilight” franchise and tearjerker “The Fault in Our Stars,” and will be handled by division Fox 2000, which has produced literary adaptations such as “Life of Pi,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and specialty title “The Book Thief.”
The film is at least several years out, as Fox will first need to tap a screenwriter to helm the project. There has been a significant dearth of gay representation in mainstream film (TV does better with this) but given this team, the Obergefell project looks to have more mass appeal along the lines of “Philadelphia.”