Here're the five crime book-to-film adaptations I'm most psyched about in 2012. Did I miss your choice? Please let me know.
London Boulevard – from Ken Bruen’s novel (London Boulevard) and directed by William Monahan (Departed). The novel managed to rise above its slight origins – a riff on Billy Wilder’s Sunset Blvd. - on the considerable merits of Bruen's prose and pacing, and though the trailer bears little resemblance to my memories of the book (Kiera Knightly in the Gloria Swanson role?) it never the less looks like a good time at the movies. Still, if I had to pick a Colin Farrell project to pant over this year, it'd have to be his reteaming with Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) for Seven Psychopaths.
Boot Tracks – from the novel by Matthew F. Jones and directed by David Jacobson (Down in the Valley, Dahmer). Last year's reprint of Jones’s A Single Shot (which has its own film now in pre-production for a 2013 release) was one of my favorite things about books in 2011 and I'm super stoked to catch up on his back-list - Boot Tracks especially - after Brian Lindenmuth added it to this list last summer. Sounds egg-zacktly like my cup 'o noodle soup.
Cogan's Trade – from George V. Higgins’ book and directed by Andrew Dominik (Chopper). Another director/actor re-teaming that I'm all kinds of giddy over - Brad Pitt previously collaborated with Dominik on the Ron Hansen adaptation Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. This one has huge potential written all over it (the baseball schtick is cute and the aging in reverse thing is a neat trick, but if you're gonna talk me into going to a Brad Pitt movie tell me he stalks the mean streets of Boston breaking bones and shootin folks 'cause I'll go). As it is so fantastically dialogue-heavy, Higgins' material presents a tempting and tricky project for film makers who must turn all those golden anecdotes into images, but man, if they connect it's gonna leave the park. It'll be the first Higgins adaptation since the excellent Peter Yates joint Friends of Eddie Coyle - oh now you're excited.
Savages – from Don Winslow’s novel and directed by Oliver Stone. Winslow's getting some serious tinsel-town love suddenly. Dunno what ever happened to theMichael Mann adaptation of The Winter of Frankie Machine, but this has got to be a step forward from Bobby Z. (from The Death and Life of Bobby Z.) A chance too for Stone to get back to less 'important' projects (always my favorites from him as a writer or director: Scarface, Conan the Barbarian, U-Turn, Natural Born Killers) and make some kick-ass cinematic entertainment. In other Winslow news, Leonardo DiCaprio might be getting ready to star as Trevanian’s character Nicholai Hel (Shibumi) in an adaptation of Winslow’s novel Satori, which continued Hel’s story. Of course DiCaprio’s name gets attached to plenty of interesting projects that we never see. Supposedly his production company is behind the development of Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper as a television show – let’s just hope it fares better than the now defunct Alan Ball series based on Charlie Huston’s The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death.
The Paperboy – from Pete Dexter’s novel and directed by Lee Daniels (Precious). Know you the Dexter, kids? 'Cause you really should. Sure he writes important books that win awards and get noticed for purty language and all that, but Pete is all about the juncture of humor and horror, pulp 'n pathos, savagery and saving grace, the exotic and psychotic in your own neighborhood, and, as a film maker, Daniels has proven willing to go to dark places and stick around for a good hard look (Woodsman, Monster's Ball). So adding Zac Efron's face to the poster already featuring Nicole Kidman, Matthew McConaughey and John Cusack isn't changing anything for me - they had me at 'screenplay by Pete Dexter, based on his novel.'
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