A film franchise fashioned around author Lawrence Block’s literary hero Matthew Scudder has been in various stages of development for more than a decade, but a new financing deal could mean that the retired police officer turned investigator-for-hire could become a project for I Am Number Four director D.J. Caruso.

Cross Creek Pictures president Brian Oliver has agreed to finance an adaptation of Block’s A Walk Among the Tombstones with Danny DeVito as well as Double Feature partners Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher, according to Deadline. Tombstones, published in 1992, was Block’s tenth Scudder story, and featured the former cop tracking the abducted daughter of a heroin kingpin through New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. (I wonder if Marvel Comics’ Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, could cameo?) At one point, a Scudder film was being set up as a vehicle for Harrison Ford, but deals have fallen apart over the years before the latest producing team swooped in.

The darker, edgy material sounds like something that would attract Ben Affleck nowadays, only the Oscar-winning director of Gone Baby Gone and The Town would shift the action from Manhattan to Beantown. And while financing appears to be coming together for a Tombstones adaptation, it’s no guarantee that Caruso will accept the gig. Deadline says he’s also weighing John August’s script of Preacher for Sony. But if the Disturbia helmer hops on board, there are 20 total Scudder novels waiting to fuel a major film franchise if the material finds the right director and cast.
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