Drama rights for BAFTA-winning foreign affairs correspondent Jonathan Rugman's book on the life and death of Jamal Khashoggi have been snapped up by Two Cities Television and Topic Studios, the production companies behind "Patrick Melrose" and "Spotlight".
Washington Post columnist Khashoggi was killed on 3rd October, 2018 inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Published today (2nd October), The Killing in the Consulate: Investigating the Life and Death of Jamal Khashoggi (Simon & Schuster) contains exclusive interviews with those involved, including Khashoggi’s fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, and the author is given unique access to the Turkish investigation into Khashoggi’s murder, said the publisher.
Dramatic rights were acquired by Topic Studios and Two Cities in a joint bid from books to broadcast agent James Carroll at Northbank Talent Management. BAFTA-winner Guy Hibbert will join the project as screenwriter.
Two Cities creative director Stephen Wright said: “Four time BAFTA-winner Guy Hibbert with his track record in factual drama makes him the perfect screenwriter to adapt this story.”
Maria Zuckerman, executive vice president of Topic Studios, added: “This important story deserves to be told, in full, to a global audience. We and Two Cities feel that Guy, with his ability to bring challenging true stories so vividly to the screen with deep humanity, will do it justice.”
Two Cities recently produced Sky Atlantic and Showtime mini-series "Patrick Melrose" with Benedict Cumberbatch and is currently adapting Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury (Little, Brown).
Earlier this year, Ian Marshall, deputy publishing director at Simon & Schuster UK, acquired UK & Commonwealth (excluding Canada) publishing rights, from non-fiction agent Martin Redfern at Northbank Talent Management, who is handling international book rights. Publication was initially slated for August before being pushed back to October.
Marshall said: “This is such a crucially important book. While this was a shocking event that made headlines around the world and has huge geopolitical significance, it is also a personal story of a man who left behind a grief-stricken partner when she had been looking forward to getting married. Jonathan brilliantly weaves the two strands of the narrative to make a compelling read.”
Rugman added: “It was shocking to return to Istanbul to report on the killing and dismemberment of a fellow journalist and the attempt to cover up the crime. My book bears witness to Jamal’s life as well as to his death. His story needs to be told and it should never be forgotten.”