Say you're an author, and you've just finished writing a book you think would make a killer movie. You shop it to your agents, and they see some real potential in its adaptive properties. There's one of two times you should sell the movie rights: either you drum up a lot of pre-release press like Justin Cronin did with his best seller The Passage, or you build a groundswell of international acclaim for your book before it's released in the U.S., like Joel Dicker did with his book The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair. The latter has just been picked up for adaptation by director Ron Howard in advance of its May publication date.
Deadline is reporting the story and named blockbuster director Howard as the talent attached to direct yet another adaptation of the written word for his new studio partners at Warner Bros. For those of you keeping score, this could be the seventh fiction adaptation Howard has made, following How The Grinch Stole Christmas, The Missing, The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons and the upcoming The Heart of the Sea and Inferno, which is due out next Christmas. This deal seems to signal a strong new partnership between Howard and the studio with the shield.
The book's official plot description, found over on Amazon. can be read below:
"August 30, 1975: the day fifteen-year-old Nola Kellergan is glimpsed fleeing through the woods, never to be heard from again; the day Somerset, New Hampshire, lost its innocence. Thirty-three years later, Marcus Goldman, a successful young novelist, visits Somerset to see his mentor, Harry Quebert, one of the country’s most respected writers, and to find a cure for his writer’s block as his publisher’s deadline looms. But Marcus’s plans are violently upended when Harry is suddenly and sensationally implicated in the cold-case murder of Nola Kellergan—whom, he admits, he had an affair with."
This project is starting to almost sound like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which is good since it's material recognizable enough to audiences that they don't have to grapple with too foreign of a concept. However, this is also a negative aspect, because that was a David Fincher project that didn't fare quite as well as Sony hoped. Also, while Mr. Howard is a strong filmmaker in his own right, there could be a case made for the superiority of Mr. Fincher's body of work. The blurb above isn't even the complete summary, as the book will also focus on the pre-requisite investigation and redemption of not only the titular character, but also the protagonist. Or at least, we're lead to believe such an ending exists. There's still plenty of room for surprises, and with a book like these, there undoubtedly will be a few.
Say what you will about Ron Howard, but the man has walked the fine line between blockbusters and awards fodder for a good long while. And with the exception of a few missteps that we're willing to overlook, The Dilemma chiefly among them, he's done a pretty good job of staying away from massive stinkers. (If you need any proof, ask yourself why The Lost Symbol got skipped in the Robert Langdon series of adaptations.) His resume shows a lot of variety, and it's not a stretch of the imagination to believe that he could turn this project into yet another success..
Heart of the Sea is scheduled for release next March, with Inferno more than likely going into production before this film gets off the ground. That means that you'll have plenty of time to read a copy of The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair after its released this May by Penguin Books. You can watch author Joel Dicker talk a bit about the book in the video below.