Wednesday, 15 October 2008


There seems to be a run of film options of late. Leading the pack is Ken Bruen. Magma Films has optioned Ken’s Jack Taylor novel THE GUARDS for a feature-length film, to be developed with Germany's RTL. The film is earmarked as a pilot for a Jack Taylor series. This is the third of Bruen's book to be slated for dramatization, along with BLITZ which will be directed by Elliot Lester, with production slated in the first quarter of 2009. The novel was optioned by Lionsgate UK, Brad Wyman and Donald Kushner. The British-born Lester, who made his feature debut on "Love Is the Drug," will direct from Nathan Parker's script. Parker also has written "Moon”. Also LONDON BOULEVARD has been optioned with William Monahan, the Oscar-winning scribe of The Departed, directing his own adaptation of the novel. For Monahan, who won the Oscar for writing "The Departed", the film marks his debut as a director. The book was recently nominated for the SNCF Prize of "Best Foreign Crime Novel" in France.

Douglas Preston began his writing career at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. He has published 21 books, both fiction and nonfiction, many co-authored with Lincoln Child. According to a recent announcement in Variety, Tom Cruise and United Artists have acquired rights to Preston's serial-killer thriller THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE. "It's the biggest movie deal in my life," said Preston. His previous thriller Relic was also made into a major motion picture. The Monster of Florence case on which Preston based his book had previously inspired the Thomas Harris sequel Hannibal. The script will be penned by Chris McQuarrie ("Valkyrie") and that Cruise will produce and decide whether he wants to star once he reads it.

Larry Beinhart's upcoming novel, SALVATION BOULEVARD, has been optioned for the screen by Mandalay Independent Pictures, with George Ratliff set to write the screenplay and direct. Beinhart's earlier novel novel American Hero was adapted for the screen in 1997 as the film Wag the Dog. The novel, to be published this autumn (fall) by Nation Books, concerns a private detective who confronts religious issues while investigating the death of a professor. According to Variety, "The exercise proves to be a clash of faiths: The detective is a born-again Christian, the dead man an atheist, the accused killer an Islamic foreign student and the D.A. is Jewish" and the book has a "satirical bent, targeting organized religion."

And on the UK domestic side of things Hat Trick Productions has signed a deal with ITV to develop a new crime drama populated by "strong women in peril". The programme will be based on one of Sophie Hannah's trilogy of crime novels LITTLE FACE, HURTING DISTANCE and THE POINT OF RESCUE, which feature detective Simon Waterhouse and his boss and on-off love interest Charlie Zailer. Each book is equally split between their hunt for the truth and the story of an ordinary woman who finds herself in extraordinary circumstances. No writer has yet been hired to work on the script, but it is being developed with a view to becoming a returning drama.

Sky 1 is developing a crime drama featuring a down-to-earth male detective and his "damaged" female colleague. The Twofour drama will be based on DANCING WITH THE VIRGINS, one of eight books in
Stephen Booth's Cooper and Fry detective series, and is being adapted for the screen by Murphy's Law writer Colin Bateman. Twofour head of drama Jo Wright is overseeing the development after the Plymouth-based indie landed a substantial development deal. Sky confirmed the novel is one of 15 dramas in development in line with its pledge to invest "millions" in book adaptions. DANCING WITH THE VIRGINS is about a series of brutal murders whose victims are arranged to look like they are dancing. Based in the Peak District, the books follow old-fashioned detective Ben Cooper and his ruthless colleague Diane Fry. Booth's literary agent Teresa Chris said the tension in the books "comes as much from the relationship between the main characters as from the crimes. They come from different parts of the social spectrum and don't understand each other".

Manchester indie Title Role Productions has been commissioned by the Crime & Investigation network and the History Channel to produce 6 x 60-minute series CRIMES THAT SHOOK BRITAIN. The show will focus on some of the best known recent cases, including the massacre at Hungerford and the mass murderer Dr Harold Shipman.

Given the state of the international economy ITV was bold enough to go ahead this Monday to screen their new 3 parter drama WIRED, set in the world of … er … international finance. Figures in states that it managed to be top dog in the key 9pm slot last night with 4.8m viewers (21.4%). The opening hour-long episode began with 5.4m (23.4%) but lost a million viewers during the time it was on air to have 4.4m (19.7%) watching in the final quarter of an hour. The drama stars Jodie Whittaker, Laurence Fox and Charlie Brooks.

ITV3 has acquired gritty new cop drama FLASHPOINT, which has proved a surprise hit over the summer in the US. The 13 x 60-minute drama follows an elite group of officers who deal with high risk, life-and-death situations every day and stars Enrico Colantoni (Veronica Mars), Hugh Dillon (Durham County) and Amy Jo Johnson (Wildfire). The high action series will show the squad rescuing hostages, arresting gangs, defusing bombs, scaling skyscrapers and talking down suicidal teens. But it will also show them off duty – and not everyone can take the pressure the job entails.

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