Romance Bookstore The Ripped Bodice Now Bringing All The Romance You Need To Television
Praise the romance novel gods!
In what Entertainment Weekly describes as a serious meet-cute moment turned partnership, sisters Bea and Leah Koch are now partnering with Sony to turn their romance bookstore The Ripped Bodice into a way for them to help develop titles for television based on their connection with both romance authors and the romance novel community. The shop is only a few blocks from Sony’s lot, which led to employees stopping by and discussing a potential partnership with the sisters; it blossomed into the announcement which was released today.
Romance has been slowly staging a comeback. Shonda Rhimes recently optioned Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series as part of her overall deal with Netflix; the streaming giant recently had a huge hit with romantic comedies like Set It Up and To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. The big screen has seen the rise of the rom-com with Crazy Rich Asians and upcoming projects such as The Kiss Quotient and Roomies. Romance is in, and a partnership with the huge amount of devotees of the genre is a smart move on Sony’s part.
The Koch sisters will help Sony navigate the world of romance novels and will help them find good titles to option and pursue for the small screen. Bea noted that “there are so many amazing rom-coms coming out right now, but very few of them have been based on romance novels. That’s what we’re really focused on. Because we love original projects, but romance novels are there and they’re waiting to be optioned and made into things. Like actually seen through to the finished product. We know a lot of romance gets optioned, but we rarely see it get to the finished product.”
Most importantly, the sisters are adamant that Sony focuses on diverse romance novels, not just stories about white characters. “Our number one priority is working with authors of color and getting a seat at the table that we have been offered and making sure Hollywood knows about their books,” said Leah. Bea agreed, saying “we were excited to hear that they were excited about focusing on diverse projects and women’s voices, which is our raison d’etre.”
The sisters also spoke about exploring romance with modern views of sexuality, gender, and female empowerment. This is exactly the kind of romance the world needs currently. Romance is a highly empowering genre for women — it’s entirely about the female gaze and sexual agency, especially when written by female authors. This is not to say there aren’t bad apples in the genre — hello, Fifty Shades of Grey — but with the Koch sisters, who are experts in the genre and who clearly have a good eye, at the helm, Sony can navigate the genre and find the best projects that uplift all women, not just one subset.
The world is a pretty terrible place currently. We could use some more romance and female empowerment in our films, and this partnership will help uplift a diverse array of voices. Romance is returning to Hollywood, and hopefully this time it will be less about women as sex objects and more about women as strong, nuanced protagonists who’s gazes define their stories. Long live the rom-com.
(via Entertainment Weekly; Image: Screengrab)
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