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Universal Pre-Empts Colin Bannon Short Story ‘Don’t Look’ For Janelle Monáe To Star & Produce; Akela Cooper Scripting

EXCLUSIVE: Universal has pre-emptively purchased the short story thriller package Don’t Look, with Janelle Monáe (Glass Onion, Moonlight, Hidden Figures) in talks to star.

Akela Cooper (M3GAN, Malignant, The Nun 2) is set to adapt the screenplay based on the short story by Colin Bannon (Ultra, First Ascent).

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Monáe is in talks to produce through her Wondaland Pictures’ first-look deal with Universal Pictures, along with Scott Glassgold’s Ground Control. They are keeping the logline under wraps, based on Bannon’s unpublished short story.

Bannon is fresh from making a Universal deal for his horror short story Long Lost, produced by Steven Spielberg, Simon Kinberg and Glassgold. Glassgold and Cooper teamed on the short story sale It’s Over to Sony Pictures, with Glassgold and Roy Lee producing.

The short story deal brokering was led by Verve, its second of the day in a turbulent week after the Sony deal for Cola Wars.

Monáe is repped by WME, Mikael Moore and Kelli Andrews at Wondaland Management, Ben Rubinfeld at Ziffren Brittenham, and Matthew Johnson at Johnson Shapiro Slewett & Kole.

While she has been busy on the big screen, Cooper’s TV credits include the Netflix series Luke CageAmerican Horror Story and Paramount+’s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds. Cooper is repped by CAA, Dan McManus at Rise Management, and Gregg Gellman at Morris Yorn.

Bannon holds the Black List record for having landed seven scripts on the annual list; he has sold the specs Ultra to Tri-Star Pictures and First Ascent to Netflix. Bannon and Ground Control are repped by Verve.

Universal’s SVP Production Development Ryan Jones and Director of Development Tony Ducret will oversee Don’t Look on behalf of the studio.

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