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Walden Media Taps Michael Medico To Direct Feature Adaptation Of Robbie Couch’s Queer YA Novel ‘The Sky Blues’

EXCLUSIVE: Following Walden Media’s acquisition of rights to The Sky Blues, the debut novel of New York Times bestseller Robbie Couch, the indie studio has enlisted Jono Mitchell & Madison Hatfield to script a feature adaptation, bringing Michael Medico (Good Trouble) aboard to direct, in his feature debut.

Named a 2022 Barnes & Noble Young-Adult Book of the Year finalist and Junior Library Guild selection following its publication by Simon & Schuster Books in 2021, The Sky Blues follows high school senior Sky Baker, the only openly gay student at his Michigan high school. His big promposal plans for his crush, Ali, get derailed after an anonymous hacker sends a deeply homophobic and Islamophobic e-blast that quickly goes viral. Bt just when Sky considers skipping town altogether, his classmates give him a reason to fight back in a coming-of-age story about bravery, being yourself and embracing a chosen family that supports you through everything.

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Walden’s Frank Smith and Ben Tappan will exec produce the project, with producers to be named soon. Julia Friley is overseeing the project for Walden.

“‘The Sky Blues’ is a triumphant coming of age story that celebrates the universal themes of courage and overcoming adversity that are at the heart of Walden Media’s DNA,” Tappan told Deadline. “We’re excited to bring this wonderful adaptation to audiences under Michael Medico’s smart and timely direction.”

Medico added that he “could not be more honored to bring Robbie Couch’s poignant YA novel to screen. ‘The Sky Blues’ beautifully brings hope and humor to a new generation, just when we need it most.”

Best known for directing on Freeform’s The Fosters and spin-off Good Trouble, Medico’s other directing credits include Netflix’s Atypical, including the series finale, as well as multiple episodes of Shonda Rhimes’ Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19, and Ryan Murphy’s 9-1-1 and 9-1-1: Lone Star. Currently, he’s developing a feature with TeaTime Pictures, the production company of Dakota Johnson and Ro Donnelly.

An Atlanta-based writing, directing and performing duo, Hatfield and Mitchell previously collaborated on the indie Pageant Material, which was selected by the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival and received the Celebration of Courage award from the Kansas City LGBT Film Festival. Additionally, they collaborated on the short film Jenna Got An Abortion and feature Courtney Gets Possessed, available through TriCoast Worldwide.

Couch is also known for the novels Another First Chance, Blaine for the Win, and If I See You Again Tomorrow, having released the latter last spring.

Currently, Walden is in production on the James Vanderbilt-directed drama Nuremberg, starring Russell Crowe, Rami Malek and Michael Shannon. Up next for release is the indie studio’s Apple TV+ limited series Manhunt, about the hunt for John Wilkes Booth in the aftermath of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, which premieres March 15. Tobias Menzies stars as Booth, with Hamish Linklater portraying Lincoln.

Medico is represented by Echo Lake Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller. Mitchell & Hatfield are repped by Gotham Group. Couch is repped by Gersh and BookEnds.

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