SK Global Acquires Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s ‘Before The Coffee Gets Cold’ For Series Development With Jackal Group

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EXCLUSIVE: SK Global and Gail Berman’s The Jackal Group have teamed to develop, finance and produce a series adaptation of Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s international bestseller Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

In a competitive situation, SK Global has acquired the rights to the novel which was published last year. Originally adapted from Kawaguchi’s own stage play by the same name, Before the Coffee Gets Cold is set in a Tokyo back alley where a café has served carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. Local legend says that this shop offers something else very unique for patrons: the chance to travel back in time – but only for the time it takes for their coffee to get cold. With faces both familiar and new, the story follows patrons who visit to take advantage of Café Funiculi Funicula’s time-traveling offer and revisit moments with family, friends and lovers—each of whom must face up to the past to move on with their lives.

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“Although set in Japan, the themes I have explored in my work are universal – love, loss, memory, friendship, regret and redemption,” said Kawaguchi. “And so it’s with a great sense of joy that I partner with accomplished companies SK Global and The Jackal Group, who are committed to presenting content that is international in origin and spirit and can be appreciated by people in all parts of the world. I’m so thankful for their embrace of my work and I greatly look forward to sharing the results of our collaboration with viewers throughout the globe.”

The Jackal Group’s Gail Berman and Hend Baghdady will executive produce the adaptation alongside SK Global Co-Chairman Sidney Kimmel, President of Global Television Marcy Ross, and co-CEO’s John Penotti and Charlie Corwin.

The project reunites Berman and Ross. The two first worked together at Sandollar TV, run by Berman, where they developed Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Berman then brought Ross to Fox as a current executive during her tenure as Entertainment President.

“Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s magical novel is a genuine page turner; I finished it in one sitting and was completely transported into a beautiful reality of time travel and romance,” said Ross. “To produce this adaptation alongside Hend and Gail is a dream come true.”

Before the Coffee Gets Cold, a USA Today Bestseller and a Times of London Bestseller, has remained the #1 Bestseller for International Fiction at UK bookseller Waterstones for the past 23 consecutive months, and was the market’s #1 bestselling literary novel in translation in 2020. Before the Coffee Gets Cold is also an overall #1 Bestseller on Amazon’s audiobook platform Audible and has remained on Italy’s Bestseller list for 82 weeks.

“We are thrilled to be working on this exciting series idea with our friends Marcy Ross, Charlie Corwin and John Penotti at SK Global,” The Jackal Group said in a statement. “Mr. Kawaguchi’s bestseller explores the question, ‘If you could go back in time, who from your past would you want to meet?’ Our characters are on an emotional and spiritual journey that explores their past while coming to terms with their future.”

The Jackal Group’s partnership with Sunmark Publishing in Tokyo yielded the global hit unscripted series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo for Netflix. Most recently, The Jackal Group released the followup to The Addams Family, MGM’s animated feature based on the macabre clan. Upcoming film projects include the untitled Elvis Presley biopic directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Tom Hanks, Austin Butler and Olivia DeJonge. In TV, the company has two straight-to-series orders for Domino Masters and Monarch at Fox, as well as a pilot pickup for Grimbsburg (Fox). The Jackal Group is also producing Tim Burton’s live-action Addams Family offshoot drama Wednesday for Netflix.

SK Global is behind Hindi-language International Emmy-winning drama series Delhi Crime which recently completed filming its second season, for Netflix. SK Global’s current slate includes Brad Meltzer and Josh Mensch’s non-fiction hit The Lincoln Conspiracy: The Secret Plot to Kill America’s 16th President–and Why It Failed, Tim Johnston’s mystery The Current and Ghanaian writer and academic Peace Adzo Medie’s novel His Only Wife with Nana Mensah adapting. Additionally, the Company’s untitled Thai Cave Rescue limited series for Netflix is currently filming in Thailand.

Author and playwright Kawaguchi formerly produced, directed and wrote for the theatrical group Sonic Snail. As a playwright, his works include Couple, Sunset Song, and Family Time. The novel Before the Coffee Gets Cold is adapted from a 1110 Productions play by Kawaguchi, which won the 10th Suginami Drama Festival grand prize.

Kawaguchi and Sunmark Publishing are repped by Neil Gudovitz of Gudovitz & Company Literary in New York, in cooperation with Bryan Thompson of Barnes & Thornburg in Los Angeles. The deal was negotiated on behalf of SK Global by Head of Business & Legal Affairs Brian Kornreich.

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