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Lionsgate hopes that they have found a new franchise hero for their studio, as they have just acquired film and television rights to the Junior Bender series of crime novels written by Timothy Hallinan. Much like Fifty Shades of Gray, which is getting its own movie adaptation, the Junior Bender series started as e-books, with "Crashed" and "Little Elvises" being released in the digital format.
Variety says that the books are about a Los Angeles burglar who also works as "an ad hoc private eye for clients on the wrong side of the law." Hallinan reportedly included "old Hollywood and show business stories" that the writer reflected on from his own time working in industry. According to the trade, the character will be molded to fit into the popular trend of humorous action franchises and will have the main character be similar to the protagonists in series like Burn Notice and White Collar.
In addition to the movie deal, Soho Crime has signed a three-book deal with Hallinan and are currently working towards publishing the first two books in paperback and hardcover formats. The "Crashed" hardcover will be released November 13th, "Little Elvises" will debut on January 29th, and a third book, "The Fame Thief" will be on bookshelves June 4th.
Given that Lionsgate has acquired both movie and television rights, its unclear at this point if they are planning to make a big screen or small screen franchise with the series. As of now there is no writer or director attached to the project.