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Read It Before They Screen It: Papa Hemingway, Flow My Tears, and More

Kirk Ellis, who recently oversaw the award-winning HBO miniseries John Adams (based on the David McCullough biography), will follow that project with adaptations of James Ellroy's American Tabloid (possibly as an HBO series) and Hampton Sides's Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West.

And after that, perhaps in the next century sometime, he's adapting A. E. Hotchner's book Papa Hemingway.

Hotchner's memoir about the last 14 years of Hemingway's life focuses on the literary giant's close friendship with Hotchner. The author just recently agreed to sell the film rights to the highly personal memoir.

The only other film I can think of from a Hotchner book is Steven Soderbergh's terrific, underrated third feature, King of the Hill — not to be confused with the animated series.

However, I was surprised to learn, while reading Shawn Levy's excellent biography Paul Newman: A Life, that Hotchner (a lifelong friend of Newman's) was the co-founder of the Newman's Own company.

Sneak some of his delicious product into the theater when you see Papa Hemingway.

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The next Philip K. Dick novel to get the big-screen treatment looks to be Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said. (Expect a title change.)

The story is set in a futuristic post-civil war (a second one) America and revolves around a celebrity who after surviving an assassination attempt wakes up the next day to find that no one has ever heard of him.

Previous Dick adaptations (some more successful than others) include Blade Runner, Minority Report, Total Recall, and, er, Paycheck.

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Action star Jason Statham will take the lead in the film Killer Elite, based on the bestselling novel The Feathermen by Ranulph Fiennes.

Based on real events, story follows a group of former British special forces members who are being hunted by assassins. Statham will play a former Navy Seal who is forced out of retirement to save his closest friend.

Expect the book to come back into print in time for the movie.

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Universal Studios has seized the film rights to Mike Richardson and Jason Shawn Alexander's horror graphic novel The Secret — no surprise, since Dark Horse Comics founder Richardson has been writing these stand-alone books with the sole intent of turning them into film properties.

According to Variety, The Secret "treads down familiar territory, revolving around a group of high school students involved in a prank that goes horribly wrong, but puts a spin on the teen horror thriller."

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Meanwhile, Fox has picked up another graphic novel, DC's Human Target, as a TV series.

The Hollywood Reporter says:

[T]he show centers on Christopher Chance (Mark Valley), a mysterious freelancer who offers a unique form of security for hire: He assumes the identities of people in danger, becoming the 'human target' on behalf of his clients.

Watch for it this fall.

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Chris Bolton co-created the all-ages webcomic Smash, which will soon be published by Candlewick Press, and created the comedy series Wage Slaves. His short story "The Red Room" was published in Portland Noir from Akashic Books.

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Portland Noir (Akashic Noir)
    Used Trade Paper $6.95
  2. Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said Used Trade Paper $8.00

  3. Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of...
    Used Trade Paper $10.00
  4. John Adams
    Used Trade Paper $5.50
  5. American Tabloid
    Used Mass Market $3.50
  6. Papa Hemingway: A Personal Memoir Used Trade Paper $10.00
  7. Paul Newman: A Life
    Used Hardcover $10.50

  8. Human Target: Strike Zones Used Trade Paper $4.50

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