Sunday, 23 March 2008


Gary Oldman is in negotiations to join the cast of "Rain Fall," a Japan-set thriller that employs sophisticated western finance techniques.

Adapted from a novel by best- selling American author Barry Eisler, it is the story of a hit man who is forced to protect the daughter of one of his victims against assassination by the CIA. Shiina Kippei ("Shinobi") and Akiho Hasegawa star.

Japanese Satoru Iseki ("The Emperor and the Assassin," "A Battle of Wits") produces through his Tara Contents shingle and a special purpose vehicle with backing from Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan and other equity investors.

"Rain Fall" will be the second directorial outing for scripter-helmer Max Mannix ("Dance of the Dragon"). Pic, to be lensed beginning next month, will be shot predominantly in Japanese, with 15% English dialogue.

Iseki said the film will have the distinction of being the first Japanese movie to use a completion bond. Budgeted at over $7 million, bond supplied by Film Finances, will allow producers to discount a video contract and bring forward coin for the production stage.

"Normally Japanese investors don't use bonds as they create film investment consortia and share the risk among themselves, but I think a bond helps the producer and opens up other kinds of finance such as gap or debt," Iseki said. "One reason I don't like the consortium system is that it is difficult to see who has the final decision -- and decision-making at their monthly meetings can be slow."

Iseki, who is in Hong Kong with two projects at the HAF, expects to appoint a world sales agent in the next two weeks.

Barry will be in the UK in a drive-by signing. March 31, 5:00 pm Books Etc.
02 Centre, 255 Finchley Road London, NW3 6LU +44 20 7433 3299

Other film news includes
Neil Marshall has signed with Universal to direct "Drive," an adaptation of the James Sallis novel. Hugh Jackman is attached to play a Hollywood stunt driver who moonlights as a getaway car driver in heists.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Crime Awards and news roundup

News just in from the ITW

Finalist for the 200 Thriller Awards. The winners will be announced this summer at Thrillerfest 2008 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City during a gala banquet on Saturday, July 12th.


No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay (Bantam)
The Watchman by Robert Crais (Simon & Schuster)
The Ghost by Robert Harris (Simon & Schuster)
The Crime Writer by Gregg Hurwitz (Viking)
Trouble by Jesse Kellerman (Putnam)


Interred With Their Bones by Jennifer Lee Carrell (Dutton)
Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover (William Morrow)
From the Depths by Gerry Doyle (McBook Press)
Volk's Game by Brent Ghelfi (Henry Holt and Co.)
Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill (William Morrow)


The Last Nightingale by Anthony Flacco (Ballantine)
A Thousand Bones by P.J. Parrish (Pocket)
The Midnight Road by Tom Piccirilli (Bantam)
The Queen of Bedlam by Robert McCammon (Pocket)
Shattered by Jay Bonansinga (Pinnacle)

It’s been a very sad time of late. First the passing of Julian Rathbone, followed by Anthony Minghella and Arthur C. Clarke. Now veteran British actor Paul Scofield has died of leukemia, aged 86.

He passed away peacefully in hospital near his Sussex home yesterday, his agent confirmed.
She told Reuters: "He had leukemia and had not been well for some time."
Scofield won a Best Actor Oscar in 1967 for his turn as Sir Thomas More in Man for All Seasons. He was also nominated for Robert Redford-directed movie Quiz Show in 1995.Although he appeared in more than 30 films, he spent most of his career on the stage and was a leading member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
He was made a companion of honour in 2001 but rejected three attempts to give him a knighthood.
The Departed writer William Monahan is to pen a thriller based on an article to appear in Playboy.
The Paramount movie will tell the true story of Jim Keene, a police chief's son who was convicted of drug dealing. As an alternative to a ten-year jail sentence, he was allowed to go undercover at an insane asylum, where he tried to get a serial killer to reveal the location of his victims' bodies.
The film is being produced by Graham King (The Aviator, The Departed) and Alexandra Milchan (Street Kings, Righteous Kill). It is part of a first-look deal that King's GK Films has made with the Oscar-winning writer, who will work from their office.
The article will appear in Playboy later this year.

New James Bond film Quantum of Solace will be released in the UK on October 31.

The 22nd instalment in the franchise will hit cinemas slightly earlier than the previously expected date of November 7.
A statement from Sony revealed that Daniel Craig’s 007 will be tackling "a minefield of treachery, murder and deceit" in Haiti, Austria and South America.The movie follows on directly from Casino Royale and sees Bond discover that love interest Vesper was being blackmailed when she betrayed him.

The A-Team movie has a release date of June 12, 2009 and will be directed by John Singleton.
The director, whose credits include Shaft, Four Brothers and 2 Fast 2 Furious, was first linked to the job in December.
Michael Brandt and Derek Haas have written the script for the big-screen adaptation of the popular 1980s TV show, reports Variety.
The film will reportedly update the characters' back-stories to establish them as veterans of the Gulf War rather than Vietnam. No casting for the movie has been confirmed yet. However, rapper-turned-actor Ice Cube said he would be interested in the role of B.A. Baracus, originally played by Mr T, if Singleton was at the helm.

For those of us on this side of the Atlantic we will be treated to the ITV drama adaptation of Jake Arnott’s He Kills Coppers. A stylish crime narrative concerned with the moral legacy of Flying Squad corruption in 1960s London, tells of the infamous murder of three Met officers in 1966. Check out the TV company’s website for further information.
Clint Eastwood's Gran Torino, which was announced yesterday, may be a sequel in the Harry Callahan series, reports say.Eastwood played rogue San Francisco cop Harry Callahan in five films, starting with 1971's Dirty Harry. He last played the character 20 years ago in The Dead Pool. Callahan's "Do I feel lucky?" monologue is often quoted and parodied in popular culture. Reports supposedly made by the prodcers that hey have been trying to buy a 1972 Ford Gran Torino for the Warner Bros movie. The plot is alleged to revolve around the retired Callahan seeking to track down the killer of two young police officers, one of whom is his grandson. The only thing known about the murderer is that he drives a Ford Torino. So it's Dirty Harry on Wheels?
Have a Happy Easter

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Movie/TV round up

Clint Eastwood's next project will be Gran Torino

The screen legend will both direct and star in the film for Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures.
Eastwood's involvement in the movie was revealed on Tuesday, March 18 when the studio gave the film its release date schedule. His starring in "Torino" marked his first time return on screen after his last appearance in "Million Dollar Baby" with Hilary Swank and Morgan Freeman.
His latest outing behind the camera was prohibition-era thriller Changeling, starring Angelina Jolie. The Universal movie opens in cinemas in November.

Sam Raimi is in negotiations to revive the Jack Ryan franchise for Paramount.

The studio hopes Raimi will direct a series of films based on Tom Clancy's CIA analyst character, the first of which is being targeted for summer 2010, after he completes horror film Drag Me to Hell.

The Jack Ryan character features in several novels from US author Clancy and first appeared on screen played by Alec Baldwin in The Hunt for Red October. Harrison Ford later took over the role in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger before Ben Affleck played a younger version of Ryan in 2002's The Sum of All Fears.
Ryan Gosling has been ">linked with the lead role in the new film, which is to take place during the character's early years at the CIA.
Paramount is yet to decide whether to use the upcoming Tom Clancy Ryan novel as the basis for the new film or come up with an original story.

Director Anthony Minghella has died of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 54.

His publicist Jonathan Rutter said he had undergone surgery for cancer of the tonsils and neck last week and the operation "seemed to have gone well". However, he suffered a fatal haemorrhage at 5am this morning and died at London's Charing Cross Hospital.

The British filmmaker and playwright, who won an Oscar for 1996 film The English Patient, recently finished work on feature-length TV pilot The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.

Minghella was also nominated for an Academy Award in the adapted screenplay category for 1999's The Talented Mr Ripley and 2003's Cold Mountain.

His other acclaimed films include Truly, Madly, Deeply, which he wrote and directed in 1990.He had been chairman of the British Film Institute since 2003 and was appointed a CBE in 2001.

Producer Lord David Puttnam described the news as "a shattering blow", telling the BBC: "He wasn't just a writer, or a writer-director, he was someone who was very well-known and very well-loved within the film community. Frankly he was far too young to have gone."Minghella, who was born on the Isle of Wight, is survived by his wife, Hong Kong-born choreographer Carolyn Choa, and children Max and Hannah.

Danny Dyer has claimed that he would be perfect for the role of DS George Carter in the big-screen adaptation of The Sweeney.

According to UK newspaper The Sun, US producers are looking for someone to star alongside Ray Winstone in the film, but don't believe Dyer is famous enough in America to win the part.

Nick Love, who worked with Dyer on The Football Factory and The Business, is directing the movie.Dyer said: "This is the big one for me. Nick is campaigning for me but they want to sell it worldwide. There's no better combination than me and Ray for this."

The original 1970s cop show starred John Thaw and Dennis Waterman in the lead roles.

Hat tip: Digital Spy.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Crime Party - Penguin/Michael Jospeh

As usual, Ali Karim is first out of the stalls in posting his report on the yearly party held by Penguin/Michael Joseph UK. It's no good me re-telling it here, you're best to nip over to his blog on the Rap Sheet and read all about it.

What he might not know: I spent some time talking with Felix Francis (son of Dick) and he was allowed to divulge the title of their new book out this August - SILKS. Alas, Dick was unable to make the evening.

Peter Guttridge, our one-time film critic was also attending and it turns out that he is a busy little bee at the moment. Not only is he almost finished writing his "Brighton" book, (a modern day Brighton Rock, or so he says) but he has been commissioned by the National Archives to write a book on the Great Train Robbery and spends most of his time locked in a vault in Kew Gardens with only the mice for company.

I met up with Ali, Nick Stone, Charles Cumming, Mike Ripley and Ayo Onatade in the pub beforehand. Did you know that come August, Mike Ripley will be celebrating 20 years of "Angel"? I reckon that Angel is now the longest-running series of comedy crime still going. Simon Brett packed in Charles Paris ten years ago, Liz Evans only started 9 years ago. Peter Guttridge's last one came out four years ago, Jeremy Cameron last one came out in 2004 (and one straight-to-video film). Simon Shaw and Charles Spencer gave up after three books.
August must be an important time of year as Mills & Boon is to launch a crime and thriller series in its first venture beyond romance publishing since it was founded 100 years ago. Black Star Crime kicks off in August with five titles, and will initially publish five titles every two months. The heavily-­branded short novels will be priced at £3.99. Just to make it clear Black Star Crime is a completely separate brand to MIRA. Black Star Crime will include a range of genres, from cosy mysteries to hard-core thrillers, with authors to include new names as well as more established writers. M&B has liaised with Working Partners to generate some of the concepts, as well as acquiring titles itself, and is adamant the quality of the ­stories is paramount. Launch titles include Runaway Minister by Nick Curtis, Streetwise by Chris Freeman, A Narrow Escape by Faith Martin and Murder Plot by Lance Elliott.

Nick Stone tells me that King of Swords has been optioned by Brilliant Films for Martin Campbell (Casino Royale, GoldenEye, Edge of Darkness) to direct. Nick would like to see Josh Brolin play the young Max Mingus and Idris Elba (Stringer Bell in The Wire) play Joe Liston.

And also that the August paperback edition to King of Swords had undergone several book designs and was happy that they settled on this one.

Well the parties continue and tomorrow night (18th March) is the launch for Tom Rob Smith and CHILD 44. No doubt Ali will blog long before I do but he's that kind of guy. I'll let you know any asides.

Monday, 3 March 2008

Julian Rathbone R.I.P.

1935 - 2008

It’s a sad start to the week when I have to report that the Booker Prize nominated author Julian Rathbone died last Thursday (28th Feb 2008) after a long illness. He was 73 years old. To quote Bob Cornwall from his interview with Julian: “Not too many crime, mystery or thriller writers, after all, can boast two nominations for the Booker Prize. None in fact. Throw in the narrative skills that have grown over the years in both complexity and clarity, great descriptive writing, and a collection of flesh and blood characters that it is always a pleasure to encounter. Then take into account a range of political concerns that reveal his position on the libertarian Left, and a cultural framework that takes him from Wellington back to Harold Godwin (the last English king) and from Monteverdi to James Crumley. It is a combination that has resulted in a body of work that is remarkable in its range and versatility.” That kind of sums him up.
I met Julian on many occasions and found him the perfect gentlemen, possessing a keen sense of humour. He would often be found at launches in his trademark hat which he wore with panache. A dash of individualism among the norm. He’ll be missed.
A further tribute to Julian will be online soon.
R.I.P. – Julian Rathbone.