‘Five Feet Apart’ Filmmaker Justin Baldoni To Direct Adaptation Of YA Novel ‘Hold Back The Stars’ For Lionsgate

EXCLUSIVE: In the wake of winning a multi-studio and streamer auction for film rights to Judy Blume’s classic novel Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret this morning as Deadline broke, Lionsgate continues to strut its stuff in the YA sphere. It is reteaming with Five Feet Apart filmmaker Justin Baldoni, who’ll direct a feature adaptation of Katie Khan’s novel Hold Back the Stars.

Baldoni, I hear, will direct and produce from a screenplay by Christy Hall, and the film will be produced by 21 Laps’ Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen.

Khan’s novel, from Gallery Books, focuses on a young man and a woman who revisit memories of their doomed love affair on a utopian Earth while trapped in the vast void of space with only 90 minutes of oxygen left.

Lionsgate distributed CBS Films’ Five Feet Apart, which made $91.5 million-plus at the global box office. The project also continues the collaboration between 21 Laps and film and television writer-producer and award-winning playwright Hall, who is the co-creator, writer and executive producer of Netflix’s new series I Am Not Okay with This, which debuted last week.

Lionsgate president of production Erin Westerman said, “We’re huge fans of Justin and what he accomplished with Five Feet Apart. He’s incredibly talented at capturing the romance, tragedy and buoyancy of young love. He will further elevate material we are already very excited about!”

Baldoni added: “I’m thrilled to be working with my friends at Lionsgate and 21 Laps on this unique and exceptional story. As a firm believer that love has the power to unify and conquer all, I deeply connected with Hall’s unique take on the ‘star-crossed lovers’ story. With its thrilling action, deep-rooted romance, and powerful message, I couldn’t be more excited to bring this story to life.”

The film will be overseen by Lionsgate’s Meredith Wieck and Scott O’Brien.

Baldoni is represented by WME. Dan Freedman oversaw the deal for Lionsgate.

Two weeks ago, Deadline broke the news that Lionsgate was reteaming with Five Feet Apart screenwriting team Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis on the follow-up novel All This Time, which was penned by Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott. Lionsgate took the Simon & Schuster book off the table for six figures ahead of its publication October 6.

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