Home Production company SFChronicle’s ‘Jessica Simulation’ rights acquired by Hollywood production company

SFChronicle’s ‘Jessica Simulation’ rights acquired by Hollywood production company

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Dozens of Hollywood production companies have inquired about acquiring the rights to the project, seven of which ultimately bid for the rights to the story, which has been read by more than 500,000 people since its publication on July 23. The creator of “Blindspot” Martin Gero, whose production of Quinn’s House company has an agreement with Universal, will be the screenwriter and executive producer of the project. Storied Media Group represented The Chronicle in the auction; the terms of the agreement have not been finalized.

“We see this as a way to expand our journalism on new platforms so that it can find an even larger audience,” column editor Emilio Garcia-Ruiz said. “In partnership with Martin Gero and his production company Quinn’s House, we selected someone who not only shared our love for this story, but is also in a great position to develop the project through their partnership with Universal.”

Written by Chronicle narrator Jason Fagone, “The Jessica Simulation” is about 33-year-old Joshua Barbeau, who is still mourning his fiancée, Jessica, eight years after her death from a rare liver disease. Barbeau turns to a mysterious website and uses Jessica’s old Facebook texts and posts to create an AI chatbot in her voice. Through a conversation spanning months with the AI ​​version of Jessica, Barbeau grapples with her grief and confronts what it means to move forward.

“The AI ​​technology here is wild, but I was really drawn to the human element – the weird and beautiful love story that unfolded between Joshua and Jessica, in life and even after her death. “said Fagone. “There is also something universal about it, because mourning is universal. It was a privilege to tell it and I can’t wait to see it adapted for the screen.

Fagone spoke to Fifth & Mission host Cecilia Lei about the history of the podcast.

On SFChronicle.com, “The Jessica Simulation” was a collaborative effort. Fagone worked with investigative editor Lisa Gartner on the story, with copy editing by Peter Erikson.

“It was clear to me from the moment Jason introduced him that Joshua and Jessica’s story was special,” Gartner said. “Too many of us have lost loved ones during the pandemic. Through Jason’s reporting and writing, I knew we could tell an important and empathetic story about grief, technology, and how they collide.

Photographer Chloë Ellingson and Associate Director of Visuals Emily Jan contributed to the photographs, with design and development by former Chronicle intern David Deloso, designer Daymond Gascon, senior newsroom developer Evan Wagstaff and the creative director Danielle Mollette-Parks.

About the San Francisco Chronicle
The San Francisco Chronicle (www.sfchronicle.com) is the largest newspaper in Northern California and the second on the West Coast. Acquired by Hearst Corporation in 2000, The San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 by Charles and Michael de Young and received six Pulitzer Prizes for journalistic excellence. The staff won the ONA Online Journalism Awards for Overall Excellence in 2020 and for breaking news coverage in 2019 and 2020. Follow us on Twitter at @SFChronic.



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