“The story really spoke to the Sussexes and has a lot of parallels to their own life,” an insider exclusively tells Us Weekly. “Harry and Meghan both think it’s the perfect choice.”
Fortune confirmed the news via Instagram on Monday, August 7. “I’m thrilled to confirm that I’m teaming up with Netflix and Archewell Productions on the adaption of Meet Me at the Lake,” the Canadian author wrote. “Will and Fern’s love story is dear to my heart, and I can’t imagine a more perfect partnership. Writing this book was a tremendous personal challenge, and to see it recognized in this way is truly incredible.”
Meet Me at the Lake, published by Berkley (a division of Penguin Random House) in May, follows 32-year-old Fern Brookbanks as she gets a second chance at love with Will Baxter after she met him at the wrong time nearly a decade earlier. Though they only spent a day together, she couldn’t shake the off-the-charts chemistry they shared, and he comes back into her life nearly a decade later when she’s stuck running her mom’s lakeside resort alongside her ex-boyfriend.
The romance novel, Fortune’s second book, immediately topped the New York Times bestseller list for print paperback fiction.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will produce an adaptation of Meet Me at the Lake for Netflix as part of the $100 million deal they signed with the streamer in September 2020. Harry and Meghan — who was an actress prior to her retirement in 2018 — said at the time that they aimed to make hopeful content for Netflix.
“Our lives, both independent of each other, and as a couple have allowed us to understand the power of the human spirit: of courage, resilience and the need for connection,” the duke and duchess said. “Through our work with diverse communities and their environments, to shining a light on people and causes around the world, our focus will be on creating content that informs but also gives hope.”
Thus far, Archewell Productions has delivered three docuseries for Netflix: Harry & Meghan, which explored their romance and relationship with the royal family; Live to Lead, which highlighted activists and leaders such as Greta Thunberg and Gloria Steinem; and Heart of Invictus, which delves into the resilient athletes of Invictus Games, the competitive event Harry founded for military veterans with life-changing injuries.
Though an animated series, Pearl, was in development, it never received the green light to go into production. Meet Me at the Lake could be the first scripted project for Archewell.
Their latest deal comes after a source told Us earlier this month that the pair were struggling with their light workloads. “There’s not too much work right now for either of them, so that does cause some issues of feeling isolated,” one insider said in the cover story.
A second source added that the duo “are regrouping” after a failed Spotify venture and no Emmy nomination for Harry & Meghan, noting, “They want to figure out how they can best expand the entertainment side of things.”
Development of the script likely won’t start until the Writers Guild of America strike is resolved.
With reporting by Travis Cronin