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Fulwell 73 Options Feature Rights for Leslie K. Barry novel Newark Minutemen

Fulwell 73 has optioned the feature film rights to Leslie K. Barry’s novel Newark Minutemen, which will be released in paperback by Morgan James Publishing on October 6, 2020. Fulwell 73’s Leo Pearlman led on the acquisition and will executive produce the feature film project, with John Niven and Nick Ball attached to write the screenplay.

Newark Minutemen is based on the incredible true story from the 1930s about a Jewish boxer who goes undercover for the mob and FBI to fight fascism in New Jersey during the Great Depression. It was a time when America remained complacent as Hitler spread racial hatred in Europe, and his fanatics could brashly goose-step down American streets waving twin Swastika and US flags, led by Fuhrer Fritz Kuhn. The Newark Minutemen were a band of Jewish boxers who rose up to fight this Nazi shadow party and, perhaps the greatest enemy of all, American complacency about this looming evil.

The novel is based on the real-life experiences of author Leslie K. Barry’s uncle, a Newark Minuteman boxer. The story was pieced together from first-hand accounts from Barry’s 93-year old mother and her cousin, FBI reports, boxes of undercover source material and years of research.

“Newark Minutemen is an epic story of battles, boxers and mafia, overlaid with an explosive love affair that compares with the classic star-crossed stories from Casablanca to Titanic,” said Leo Pearlman, Partner and Producer at Fulwell 73. “This would be an important story to tell at any time in history, but right now, with the lessons we can learn from the past, it is an essential one that everyone should see."

When Barry was selling rights to the screenplay, she had been in discussions with various companies, but turned to Fulwell 73 because she and critically acclaimed producer Leo Pearlman connected on a familial level.

“When we were talking about the novel, Leo and I started sharing stories about our grandmothers and their plights in London and America,” said Leslie K. Barry, author of Newark Minutemen. “He understood the story and its importance on a level that made me trust his sensibility.”

Barry is a screenwriter, author and executive producer. Previous professional positions have included executive roles at Turner Broadcasting, Hasbro/Parker Brothers, Mattel, Mindscape Video Games, Lotus and AOL. She lives in Tiburon, CA.

Pearlman recently served as an executive producer on Fulwell 73 project Auschwitz Untold: In Colour, the acclaimed Channel 4 documentary which featured newly colourised footage taken in Nazi concentration camps alongside brand new testimony from Holocaust survivors.

Niven is best known for his debut novel Kill Your Friends, which he subsequently adapted into a feature film for StudioCanal starring Nicholas Hoult. Niven also co-wrote How to Build a Girl with Caitlin Moran, a film based on Moran’s memoirs starring Beanie Feldstein. Niven and Ball have previously worked together as screenwriters on 2011 comedy action film Cat Run, starring Paz Vega. Niven and Ball are repped by Artists First.

Fulwell 73 is an international and award-winning film and TV production company who have been behind some of the most talked about non-scripted programmes of the last few years, from Carpool Karaoke to BAFTA-winning Bros: After The Screaming Stops and the upcoming Friends reunion. Now expanding further into the scripted space, Fulwell 73 is currently in production on a number of major projects including: motion picture Cinderella starring Camila Cabello; is set to start shooting on CW commissioned series Republic of Sarah in Montreal in the coming months and recently announced it has optioned the rights to Helen Cresswell’s beloved time-traveling novel Moondial to adapt into a new TV franchise scripted by Matt Lopez (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Race to Witch Mountain).

Read more about Leslie K. Barry’s novel Newark Minutemen here.

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