‘Children Of Chicago’: Producers Janet Zucker & Tony Eldridge Option Cynthia Pelayo’s Award-Winning Horror Novel For Film

EXCLUSIVE: Producer Janet Zucker (Fair Game, Friends with Benefits) has optioned the film rights to Cynthia Pelayo’s International Latino Book Award winner Children of Chicago for Zucker Productions, with producer Tony Eldridge (The Equalizer films) for Lonetree Entertainment.

The two-time Bram Stoker Award-nominated author’s horror novel is billed as a gripping, modern-day spin on the Pied Piper fairy tale, as well as a gritty love letter to the underbelly of Chicago. In it, Detective Lauren Medina’s latest call brings her to investigate a brutally murdered teenager in Humboldt Park―a crime eerily like her sister’s murder decades before. Unlike her strait-laced partner, she recognizes the crime, and the new graffiti popping up all over the city, as a message: the Pied Piper has returned, and debts shall be paid.

“Cynthia has done an amazing job creating a unique multilevel story with unforgettable characters that jump off the page and take up disquieting residence in the dark recesses of the mind,” said Eldridge. “This is a story that continues to haunt long after the last page is read. Janet and I are thrilled that Cynthia has given us the opportunity to bring Children of Chicago to the screen.”

“Working with both Tony Eldridge and Janet Zucker has been incredible,” added Pelayo. “Tony understands the power and intensity of this story. Janet’s vision was completely in line with my goal of communicating the magic and mystery of these characters and the city of Chicago.”

Pelayo is also the author of works including Loteria, Santa Muerte, The Missing, Poems of My Night and the poetry collection Into the Forest and All the Way Through. Polis Books’ BIPOC crime imprint Agora published her latest work on the Pied Piper legend, which is the first in a series, in February of 2021.

Zucker Productions has previously produced films including Fair Game and Friends with Benefits, and is also currently developing an adaptation of Ron Wimberly’s graphic novel Prince of Cats, penned by Selwyn Seyfu Hinds, Spike Lee and Wimberly, for Legendary Entertainment.

Lonetree Entertainment developed and produced The Equalizer film series starring Denzel Washington and is currently producing the feature film The War Magician starring Benedict Cumberbatch with Colin Trevorrow set to direct.

Pelayo is represented by Lane Heymont at The Tobias Literary Agency.

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