Rarely do novels enter the marketplace with movie-adaptation deal already in place. I recall Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Rising inking a tentative film deal before the author had wrapped the manuscript, Nicholas Sparks wrote The Last Song as a book with Miley Cyrus already set for the movie, and Dan Brown no doubt keeps Sony on a special hotline whenever he has a fresh idea for a Robert Langdon mystery. Now we can add Robert Harris’s name to the illustrious list of authors who move automatically to movie deals.
The rights to the author’s as-yet-unpublished The Fear Index have been sold to Fox 2000 and Chernin Entertainment, Deadline reports. Paul Greengrass was rumored to be interested in the story of a scientist who cracks the secret to succeeding at the stock market, only to get blackmailed by a mysterious antagonist; though Harris and the Bourne director have history, the filmmaker has not officially committed to the project.
Possibly because he’s waiting to actually read it. (What a novel concept, no pun intended.) The Fear Index will be published in the UK in September, followed by a January launch in the States. The story sounds engaging – especially in the hands of the director of United 93 -- but we won’t know for sure until we’ve read it. In the meantime, Hollywood’s banking on the past successes of Harris adaptations. His novel The Ghost turned into Roman Polanski’s well-received The Ghost Writer, while his 2003 thriller Pompeii currently is being brought to the screen by Paul W. S. Anderson.
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