Carley Fortune confirms: the Sussexes bought the rights to ‘Meet Me at the Lake’

This weekend, the Sun exclusively reported that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex bought the rights to Carley Fortune’s Meet Me at the Lake, a romance-drama bestseller. While Deadline picked up the story, I was unsure if this was really happening. As it turns out, it is. Carley Fortune confirmed the news and she sounds incredibly pleased that the Sussexes will produce the film adaptation for Netflix.

Author Carly Fortune has confirmed that her bestselling romance novel Meet Me at the Lake will be adapted for Netflix by Harry and Meghan’s production company. News that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Archewell Productions had acquired rights to Fortune’s book broke over the weekend, weeks after their exclusive, multi-million pound deal with Spotify was terminated.

In a statement to The Independent, Fortune said: “I’m so thrilled about working with Netflix and Archewell to bring Meet Me at the Lake to the screen. Will and Fern’s love story is dear to my heart, and I can’t imagine a more perfect partnership.”

A former journalist, Fortune’s second book Meet Me at the Lake was released in the US on 2 May, and debuted at No 1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It is published by Penguin Random House, who also published Prince Harry’s memoir Spare.

The book follows Will and Fern, “two strangers on a daylong adventure where they make a promise one keeps and the other breaks, with life-changing effects”. The plot bears some likeness to Harry and Meghan’s whirlwind romance, as one of the protagonists in Fortune’s story lost a parent in a car crash and struggled with alcohol and drug use.

[From The Independent]

Fortune is Canadian and the book is supposed to be a love letter to Toronto, a city Meghan called home for eight years. While the Sun’s report, over the weekend, made it sound like Fortune made a bad deal because of the Sussex connection – as opposed to more seasoned producers – it actually sounds like Fortune is beyond pleased that Meghan and Harry will take this on. I would imagine nothing will move during the strikes – the first thing that needs to be done is adapting the book into a screenplay, and the writers are still very much on strike, and Netflix is very much a struck company. So we wait! Seriously though, it sounds like a good fit and just an old-fashioned love story. People who have read the book: who are you dreamcasting in these roles? If any of you say Blake Lively, I will scream.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Backgrid.

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60 Responses to “Carley Fortune confirms: the Sussexes bought the rights to ‘Meet Me at the Lake’”

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  1. Nanea says:

    Wishing them lots of success, be it H&M, or CF – after all the initial negative noise.

    Let’s see, of course we’ll need a cute ginger and a beautiful bi-racial for the leads.

    Hmmm. 🤔😁🥰

  2. Well I said just yesterday that if we didn’t hear from a spokesperson that it wouldn’t happen. Well the writer herself has said yes they have gotten it from her. I hope that this works out well for the both of them. I will patiently wait till it comes to fruition. I wonder who spilled the beans to the the sun?

  3. Barbara says:

    I’ve never read the book but I hope the adaptation turns out. Romance isn’t something Netflix does well (other than Bridgerton). Nora Roberts is the biggest romance novelist and her recent movie there (Brazen) flopped.

    • Becks1 says:

      I feel like I have never seen a good Nora Roberts adaptation. Even Angels Fall, with Heather Locklear as the lead, was very meh.

      I think Netflix does romance okay as series, not as movies. So it will be interesting to see how this turns out. I’m watching it regardless, haha.

    • Snuffles says:

      I dunno, the amount of cheesy, low budget romance movies (usually centered around Christmas) I have watched on Netflix is endless.

      • Kittenmom says:

        Agreed! 😹 My daughter and I challenged ourselves to watching a cheesy Netflix Christmas romcom every day last December – and we did not even watch them all!

        Anyhoo – I will definitely watch this one!

      • Ash says:

        I love it!!!! Lmao! I know some people don’t but Netflix makes goooooood cheesy romance movies

    • L4Frimaire says:

      I always end up watching a few of the cheesy Christmas romances so think they can do a lot better than those. At least no one can accuse them of using the royal family for content. Hope it’s really well done and a good watch.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      @Barbara, I disagree. There are a lot of romance stories on Netflix that are enjoyable. Maybe Brazen just wasn’t good? I’ll have to watch. My favorite Nora Robert’s movie adaption was Carolina Moon. One of my most favorites is Sidney Sheldon’s If Tomorrow Comes.r

      I’m all for cheesy romance movies. I would love a movie adaption of Sarah-Kate Lynch’s Blessed are the Cheesemakers or any of Sarah Addison Allen’s, Dorothea Benton Frank’s…and on and on.

  4. Mrsfonzieface says:

    As soon as this news was confirmed I bought and downloaded the book. Can’t wait to read!

  5. Tina says:

    I’m kinda happy it’s true! It’s just a fairly standard romance but there are some serious themes in it and it’s definitely a love letter to Toronto/Muskoka (two of my fav places so I’m definitely biased).

    I think mixing serious docs and some light romance or rom coms is great for Meghan. Girl needs some light fluffy stuff in her life! I’m confident the team at WME and Netflix will make sure this project is supported.

    I actually like Carley’s first book Every Summer After better but I think it would be harder to adapt as it takes place over 20ish years. No suggestions to who should play the roles.

    • Jais says:

      I wonder if Meghan will be able to bring back any local crew members from suits if it’s filmed in Toronto. Idk how that works but either way it’ll be a cool way to showcase the city.

  6. ThatsNotOkay says:

    My understanding is that Netflix bought it for them to produce? The wording was weird. Was that because they have a development deal still and these are part of the terms, or is that a way of getting around Netflix being a struck company and the writers being on strike?

    • Coldbloodedjellydonut says:

      I’d be shocked if they crossed a strike line, it doesn’t seem like something H&M would do. I don’t imagine purchasing rights could have anything to do with either the writers’ or actors’ strikes.

  7. Amy Bee says:

    All the best to them. I suspect more announcements will be made in the coming weeks.

  8. Becks1 says:

    I’m excited to have this confirmed! Another Archewell project. I’m sure this will be delayed because of the strikes but everything is delayed right now, so it is what it is.

    I feel like Meghan is one of those people who alternates candy with kale, so to speak. I’m that way too, I’m sure many of us are. I can read a very heavy book about history or politics and then I switch to an Emily Henry book and then its Nora Roberts and then I’m back to a very heavy nonfiction book and then I read a more “serious” fiction book etc. I feel like Meghan operates the same way, so when people yesterday were saying M would never do a cheesy romance movie I disagreed – I can see this very much as something she would enjoy being a part of, while also doing “heavier” projects.

    • L84Tea says:

      I’m reading an Emily Henry book right now, LOL. I’m pleased to hear this news just because it helps dispel those stupid rumors that Netflix is “so done with the Sussexes”–eye roll.

      • Becks1 says:

        I could see them picking up an Emily Henry book as well, but I think I read that at least one of hers has already been picked up by a different company? (just googled, Book Lovers got picked up by Tango and The People We Meet on Vacation has been picked up as well.)

        I enjoy Emily Henry’s books, they make me cry for some reason, LOL. There’s a formula to them after you read enough but they really are perfect summer beach reads.

      • L84Tea says:

        @Becks1, ‘Book Lovers’ is the one I am currently reading, and it’s actually (so far) my least favorite of the bunch. ‘Happy Place’ was my favorite, followed by ‘People We Meet on Vacation’ and then ‘Beach Read’. People We Meet would make a perfect rom-com, so yay! I have gone on a light-summer reading bender this June-August and read all of them. I absolutely had a few teary moments in each of these. I also read ‘One Italian Summer’–another one that tugged at my heart a bit.

      • Becks1 says:

        I liked Book Lovers the best, LOL! Happy Place a close second. I think you’re going to like Book Lovers by the end, that’s the one that makes me cry the most, lololol.

      • L84Tea says:

        I hope you’re right. But I’m barely even halfway through right now, so I have a ways to go.

    • TheWigletOfWails says:

      Meghan herself said she misses romcoms and we need more of those (her fave movie is when Harry met Sally) so I wonder where this notion of her not doing cheesy romance movies came from.

      • Becks1 says:

        Right?? This is clearly something that Meghan has been interested in doing. Not everything they do has to be super serious etc. I’m excited for this.

      • ArtHistorian says:

        There is most definitely a dearth of good romcoms. Hoping that this will be a success.

      • Nic919 says:

        She’s also been in a few Lifetime movies herself so she will know how things tend to get translated to screen.

  9. Lady Esther says:

    I haven’t read the book, but I’m thinking Kaley Cuoco. I floved the Flight Attendant, I’d watch her in anything and it seems like a good connection for Archewell Productions to make…

    • AnneL says:

      Yes, I liked her in that. I haven’t read the book either but she seems like a good fit for a rom-com with some serious undertones.

    • Cara says:

      Kaley Cuoco produces her own projects because she likes to be in creative control plus you get more money that way. Also, it’s the producers who receive the awards for best series, best picture, etc. I don’t see Kaley working for Meghan’s company.

  10. L84Tea says:

    I haven’t read this one, but I do have some Audible credits at the moment, so I might have to check this one out.

  11. Cassie says:

    I really hope Carley realises she will be targeted with abuse by working with H and M .
    It’s what happens to anyone who associates with anything they do .

    • Yikes, I hadn’t thought about that, but it is true.

    • Tessa says:

      Mostly from bots and derangers. And the daily mail.

    • Tina says:

      It’s sad that was my first thought too. All of the comments on her Insta were super positive for hours but the bots/trolls came in over night. They will definitely tank her reviews too. I’m sure that was discussed and Carley is a former journalist so she will get it. She’s also going to sell a zillion new copies so I’m sure the royalties will ease any annoyance! She’s just finishing her third book I believe so she’s good. I’m proud of her I’ve followed her career for years and to become a best selling author is amazing.

    • Taytanish says:

      Naaahhh, don’t give the trolls and bullies that much power over anyone. If people based all they did on now negative people would react to them or attack them, nothing would get done. Even president Barack Obama was set up to fail right off the bat by Moscow Mitch and the other Repubs minions but he still presided over the US for 8 years. Trolls and bullies don’t own anyone, and they shouldn’t ever be given the power to intimidate others into submission to anything. Carley will be just fine; the Sussexes have weathered this for over 7 years and are still standing tall.

    • Libra says:

      Not even the best of films cannot survive the onslaught of hate and negativity brought on by the British tabloids. People I know, usually sane and normal, parrot back to me all the bs they’ve been fed over the years about Meghan. Piers and Jeremy will dedicate themselves to tanking any Sussex project with their usual insane hatred of Meghan.

      • Becks1 says:

        Their projects dont tank though, even with the British tabloids leading the onslaught of negativity.

        I think that is something that is easy to forget because there is so much negativity aimed at them. Spare was a record breaking bestseller. their docuseries was a huge hit for Netflix. And away from the royal family talk – The Bench was a bestseller, Archetypes beat Joe Rogan, everything Meghan wears sells out, etc.

        It’s easy for those things to get lost in the noise sometimes but the truth is, their projects thus far have not tanked.

      • Tina says:

        The only thing that matters is $$. If the brands Meghan wears sell out and get a bunch of new business then some loud trolls on their feed don’t matter. If Carley’s book sells out even more globally now then everyone at the publishing house and WME is happy. The royalists trolls are loud but if they aren’t affecting a business’ bottom line no one cares. And I think as they get more ridiculous (the comments on clothing brands’ feeds were so silly) more and more people see the campaign against them. They don’t need to convert those who have swallowed the Koolaid. They have enough people who already supported them and lots who were converted by the docuseries/Spare/suits to sustain them. I know lots of people who have bought the tabloid lies but lots who haven’t. I also know many people who have managed to some how not pay attention to any of it and are open minded and curious about their projects. Spare in particular did wonders for many people I knew. Not just the fact it was a great book but the real disconnect between how the media portrayed it and the actual book opened a lot of people’s eyes to the tabloid game.

      • MsIam says:

        @Libra, like Becks1 said, the trolls tried their damnedest to sink Spare and Archetypes but they failed big-time. We have to stand up to these bullies.

      • Nic919 says:

        There are readers of the book who will likely want to see this movie so Carley Fortune has somewhat of a fan base already.

        But I am sure the trolls will try.

      • Taytanish says:

        This is absolutely incorrect, the Sussex projects don’t tank. If they tank, it won’t be because of the negativity towards them, it will be because they were just not good projects, period. People, even the Sussexes can make a not so good project/film/.etc; no one is perfect. But giving the trolls power/credit over the Sussex projects, claiming that the BM tabloid negative reporting makes or breaks them is just ridiculousness of a level of its own.

    • Jais says:

      Carly sounds very excited to be working with the Sussexes and I’m sure she is aware of the hate. And yet she still chose to work with them. The fact that this book is a love letter to Toronto makes me really excited that Meghan is involved.

    • Agreatreckoning says:

      I’m pretty sure Carley Fortune has not been living underneath a rock @Cassie and has opted to not give a f*ck what faux concern trolls and bots have to say. She is an award winning journalist and probably has received pushback by other entities previously. I’m sure she has a special digit just for derangers.

  12. Snuffles says:

    Maybe Archewell didn’t/couldn’t announce the deal because of the ongoing strikes.

    That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if WME orchestrated the deal and will package it helping find the director, production team and cast.

  13. SAS says:

    Sydney Sweeney and Dylan O’Brien?

    I was a bit un-generous yesterday and said it sounded more like a Before Sunrise ripoff than H&M’s love story. I probably won’t read it but I do hope it goes well for them, wish them every success.

  14. TheWigletOfWails says:

    Meet me at the lake is on my tbr but I’ve read Every Summer After and I liked it. Guess I have a reason to move it up on my list.

    Can’t wait to see how they adapt the book..I’ll definitely be watching.

    I wish Meghan would have a book club à la Reese Witherspoon. She used to have “tig reads” and she could use that to find projects she might be interested in producing.

  15. girl_ninja says:

    I bought the Audible version yesterday and am looking forward to getting to it. I’m excited for Harry and Meghan hope this venture is successful for them.

  16. Southern Fried says:

    Romance is not my thing but I’ll definitely watch whatever Meghan puts out. So far I’ve genuinely enjoyed everything she and Harry been a part of including Suits.

    • Kelsey says:

      Same, I’m not a big RomCom person at all, but with the way the world and current media is going I’ve actually been making a point to get into more lighthearted tings. So the romantic comedy route might be the way to go for me. I already said to myself I was going to actually watch the Hallmark movies this holiday season so ya girl can get some joy back in her spirit haha.

  17. Kelsey says:

    This is so random but I’d love to see one of my favorite Margot Robbie doppelgängers, Samara Weaving, do it. She’s been in the most random films and I love her every time, I want to see her range with a RomCom (since I’ve usually seen her in horror films)!

  18. Emily says:

    I read the book and really enjoyed the past tense Toronto story line as someone who lived there part time during university to and couldn’t wait to move there for real when I graduated.

    I don’t want to spoil too much but I wasn’t impressed with how the book handles a character’s anxiety.

    Dream cast:
    Young Will – unknown lanky, dark hair
    Older Will – Matt Bomer
    Young Fern – Sadie Sink
    Older Fern – Bryce Dallas Howard

    *30 year olds always play teenagers so why not have 40 year olds play 30 year olds.

    • katherine says:

      I ready both books and I didn’t like Meet Me at the Lake. It had none of the grip of the first book.

      If it’s going to be filmed in Toronto (which it HAS to be, considering so much of the past is about exploring cheesy Toronto landmarks popular among early 20-somethings lol), I think a certain percentage of the cast will have to be Canadian

      I can see Finn Wolfhard playing a young Will (he has that tall, artsy vibe). If Sadie Sink plays young Fern, Rachelle Lefevre could work as her older version bc she’s Canadian too (she’s also in her 40s).

      Small personal thing, but the last name Brookbanks bugs me. I’m from Toronto, and Brookbanks is a geographical location and it’s named so because a brook runs through the land. Carley has the resort on a LAKE and Brookbanks makes no sense–plus the fact it’s not a real last name. I hope they change her last name for the movie and they cast with diversity in mind.

      • Iolanthe says:

        Princess Eugenie is married to a Jack Brookbanks , or is it Brooksbank. So it is a real last name, what a coincidence

  19. Eliora says:

    Happy for all parties and kudos to Harry and Meghan. I thought it was a bit odd that the Sussexes didn’t put out an official statement, but then again everything that they do is so heavily scrutinized, it was probably best to let the author share her own happy news.

  20. Queenie says:

    Do you think H+M care this was leaked? I can’t imagine being under the radar so much that people are literally paid to pick up any morsel of info about you and publish it! I’m exhausted for them. Wishing them well and as another commented, I have an audible credit I might as well use on Meet Me at the Lake!

  21. Well Wisher says:

    Onward and upward…….

  22. Alex says:

    The book is my Audible wish list. I’m hesitant to read it because books are generally better than the screen adaptation. Saying that, I hope the Sussexes have the right folks on board to bring it to life. I’m sure they do.

  23. Rebecca says:

    That is a lazy, boring idea and it should have been vetoed immediately. WTF.

    • Lorelei says:

      Reese Witherspoon has done pretty well for herself with this “lazy, boring idea” of adapting books she enjoyed for the screen!

  24. JJ says:

    I love that this story turned out to be true! Congratulations Harry and Meghan! I hope they keep moving forward and are unbothered by those salty bitches aka the British media because you know Camilla Tominey or someone is going to find a way to twist this story to make Meghan look bad by saying she committed some stupid, invented offense.