''The Historian'' gets a plug in a hot new movie -- The new vampire novel appeared in ''The 40 Year-Old Virgin'' months before its publication date

By Michelle Kung
Updated August 19, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

When Elizabeth Kostova’s best-seller The Historian pops up in a bookstore scene in The 40 Year-Old Virgin, nothing seems out of the ordinary. Big summer book, big summer movie, big summer cross-promotion. But wait — if Virgin is in theaters now, how did the novel get in a scene shot months before its June 14 publication date? Simple PR synergy, explains Historian publicist Heather Rizzo, who says she got a call from Universal last January looking for bookstore props and had mock-ups made of the hefty vampire novel, for which Little, Brown paid a whopping $2 million. Not only did the publisher get the plug for free, says Rizzo, ”the timing just seemed to work out perfectly.” And as Steve Carell’s perpetually stymied character in Virgin can attest, timing is everything.

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