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Joel and Ethan Coen are best known for their original films, but they have quite a fantastic record with adapted works as well. Past titles include the amazing No Country For Old Men and the spellbinding True Grit - and now it appears as though the writer/directors are planning to expand this area of their resume with a live-action take on author Ross MacDonald's Black Money.
According to Deadline, Warner Bros. has optioned the rights to the 1960s crime novel, and while the Coens are currently only attached to write the script, they are viewing it as a potential directing vehicle as well. The film is going to be shepherded by famed producer Joel Silver - who knows a few things about making crime/detective movies, having previously been partially responsible for films like Lethal Weapon and The Last Boy Scout.
First released in 1966, Black Money was one of Ross MacDonald's most famous novels about private detective Lew Archer. The story begins as Archer is hired by a man to find a "suave Frenchman" who has run off with his girlfriend - but as always happens in these kinds of cases, everything from that point gets much more complicated. Before long the P.I. finds himself deep in a case involving a seven-year-old mysterious suicide, major gambling debts and sketchy casino dealings (the title refers to the money that casino owners take from their profits to avoid larger taxes). This will not be the first time that Lew Archer has made his way to the big screen, as Paul Newman played the character (albeit with an altered name) in Jack Smight's Harper (an adaptation of the book The Moving Target), and Stuart Rosenberg's The Drowning Pool.
I would personally love to see Joel and Ethan Coen take on this adaptation, if not only because the fit between the material and their style could be absolutely perfect. The brothers have shown a deep, deep appreciation of pulp detective stories in the past (one really needs to look no further than The Big Lebowski), and it would be amazing to see them fully take on a classic Lew Archer story.
We're now been without a Coen brothers-directed film for almost two years now, and while the wait has certainly been painful, we're finally going to be some relief early next year. The filmmakers have wrapped production on Hail, Caesar! - their comedy about a 1950s "fixer" in Hollywood - and Universal Pictures has plans to bring the star-studded feature to theaters on February 5, 2016. Once that project is done with post-production and ready to be released in theaters, hopefully they'll start to focus on Black Money as their eighteenth feature film. For now, I'll just keep my fingers crossed, and pray that I'll be able to deliver positive news about this project at some point.