PAGING HOLLYWOOD/ BOOKS INTO MOVIES

The buyer: Universal Pictures

The deal: Universal Pictures options a book that chronicles the cutthroat —- but deeply human —- world of a cappella groups, and their fierce battles for supremacy.

The players: Actress Elizabeth Banks ("The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Spider-Man 3") and Max Handelman producing. Kay Cannon ("30 Rock" and "Baby Mama") is writing the screenplay. The title is published by Gotham Books.

The back story: Who knew? If you're a student in college, or graduated in recent years, you know that a cappella contests are hugely popular, pitting rival groups against each other in campus concerts that draw thousands. When they got wind of Rapkin's book —- an irreverent yet compassionate look at this subculture —- Banks and Handelman, her husband and producing partner, moved quickly to snap up the rights.

"It's perfect for the comedy genre that's so big now, what's been called geek-chic," Handelman said. "On one level it's a very passionate world. On another level, it's utterly ridiculous. We knew it could be a great movie."

"This movie is "Bring It On" for a cappella singing. Instead of hot cheerleaders, you have a bunch of dorky singers."

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