By Josh Getlin

Los Angeles Times, CA
Jan 10 2008

Getting Micheline Marcom's "Three Apples Fell From Heaven" to the
big screen is a labor of love.

The Book "Three Apples Fell From Heaven" by Micheline Marcom

The Buyer Jose Rivera

The deal Jose Rivera, Oscar-nominated screenwriter ("The Motorcycle
Diaries"), options Micheline Marcom's "Three Apples Fell From Heaven,"
a powerful novel about the Armenian genocide.

The players Marcom is represented on literary rights by Sandra
Dijkstra at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and on film rights
by Liza Wachter at the Rabineau, Wachter, Sanford & Harris Literary
Agency. Rivera is represented by United Talent Agency and Rick Berg
of Code Entertainment. The novel was published by Riverhead Books.

The back story Sometimes in Hollywood it's not who you know but how
well you know them. Although Rivera and Marcom were represented by
well-connected industry players, their recent book-to-film deal was
driven more by a personal relationship. Soon after Marcom's novel
was published, she met actress and producer Sona Tatoyan at a Los
Angeles reading.

Tatoyan, like Marcom, is of Armenian descent, and she became
passionate about the highly praised book. She gave a copy of it to
her then-boyfriend (and now husband), Rivera, who had a similar
reaction. As their friendships deepened, the screenwriter became
convinced that the book was not just a potentially great film, he
saw it as the Armenian community's equivalent to "Schindler's List."

But adapting the novel would not be easy. Marcom's dream-like text
shifts back and forth in time, with a profusion of characters. One
of the most unforgettable segments is the interior monologue of an
Armenian infant who is left with other children under a grove of trees
during his family's death march from its ancestral village. "A lot
of authors are accused of writing novels that feel like screenplays,"
Rivera said. "But you can't say that about Micheline.

She wrote a literary gem. And it's a challenge for a filmmaker."

Rivera was deeply committed to the project, so much so that he wrote
a screenplay based on an oral agreement with Marcom; the two signed
an option deal only when his agents began hunting for a director.

Both see the process more as a labor of love than a legal
arrangement. "It felt, and still feels, like Jose's screenplay has
been a collaboration between the two of us," Marcom said. "But there
are two different creative worlds here, and I'm not involved in the
film one all that much. In the end, he'll have to follow his own muse."