Sony’s 3000 Taps ‘Challengers’ Justin Kuritzkes To Adapt Don Winslow’s ‘City On Fire’ For Austin Butler; ‘Barbie’s David Heyman Boards Trilogy

EXCLUSIVE: Sony’s 3000 Pictures has set Justin Kuritzkes to adapt City on Fire, the first of a bestselling novel trilogy by Don Winslow that is being developed as a star vehicle for Austin Butler.

Kuritzkes is hot off writing the script for the Luca Guadanino-directed Zendaya starrer Challengers, and Butler is producing along with David Heyman of Heyday Films and Shane Salerno of The Story Factory.

More from Deadline

After Challengers, Kuritzkes adapted Guadagnino’s next film Queer, starring Daniel Craig and based on William S. Burroughs’ 1985 novel. In 2019, Kuritzkes’ debut novel, Famous People, was published by Henry Holt and Co.

3000’s Elizabeth Gabler and Marisa Paiva are overseeing the City on Fire project for the studio, and Drew Reed was instrumental in tracking the book series.

Winslow’s swan song trilogy – the final installment City in Ruins is just landing on the bestseller lists after being published by William Morrow – is a modern retelling of the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid and Greek tragic dramas set in the world of contemporary crime. The novel was acquired a year before the publication of first installment City on Fire in a mid-seven-figure outright purchase in 2021. City of Dreams followed, and all three books have received superb reviews. Winslow considers the trilogy to be his last book writing effort, though many of his bestsellers will live on, as series and film adaptations are in the works all over town. He’ll also likely write short stories, novellas, scripts and hopefully the occasional guest column for Deadline.

Kuritzkes will start at the beginning, a struggle between two criminal empires — one Irish, the other Italian — that control all of New England, until a modern-day Helen of Troy tears them apart and starts a brutal war. Butler will play the main character, Danny Ryan, who is forced to grow from a street soldier into a ruthlessly efficient leader to protect his friends, his family and the home he loves. Fighting the Mafia, the local cops, the feds – everyone – Danny is determined to build a dynasty or will die trying.

Kuritzkes is repped by CAA and Ziffren Brittenham. Heyman, who is coming off Barbie and Wonka, is repped by Goodman, Genow; Winslow is repped by The Story Factory and CAA.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.