Deadline shares the news of a new project for Viola!

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures has has won an auction and has optioned from The Jackal Group the rights to Terry McMillan’s bestseller I Almost Forgot About You, which the studio will mount a star vehicle for Oscar-winning Fences star Viola Davis, with Girls Trip helmer Malcolm D. Lee directing. The Jackal Group’s Gail Berman and Joe Earley, who acquired McMillan’s novel back back in May, are producing alongside Davis, her husband and JuVee Productions partner Julius Tennon, and Lee and his Blackmaled Productions banner. Bidding on the package was competitive.

Ron Bass, the Oscar winning scripter of Rain Man and My Best Friend’s Wedding, will write the script with McMillan. They teamed on two other McMillan novel feature adaptations, How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Waiting To Exhale. Those films fueled strong vehicles for Angela Bassett, and Whitney Houston, Bassett, Loretta Devine and Lela Rochon. Now, Davis gets her turn.

She will play Georgia Young, a twice-divorced, successful optometrist. Despite a life, full of great friends and family, she hasn’t felt a romantic spark in awhile, and feeling bored and restless. She decides it’s time to change, and goes on a wild journey of self-discovery, reuniting with old lovers, and getting a brand new lease on life. Published by Crown, the book was a big bestseller, as is usual for McMillan, whose Disappearing Acts (HBO) and A Day Late And A Dollar Short (Lifetime) were also adapted by Hollywood.

McMillan played herself in the Lee-directed Girls Trip, so it’s not surprising they have a rapport. Lee is shooting Night School for Universal with Girls Trip‘s Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart leading the comedy ensemble.

Universal veep Sara Scott will oversee with Blackmaled’s Melanie Clark.

Davis is repped by CAA, manager Estelle Lasher and Lichter, Grossman; Lee is Paradigm and Del, Shaw, Moonves; The Jackal Group is Wendy Kirk at Ziffren Brittenham LLP; McMillan is WME and by The Friedrich Agency; Bass is ICM Partners, The Gotham Group and Jackoway Tyerman.

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