Patricia Highsmith is one of those writers that Hollywood just loves to adapt over and over again. Starting with Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train 1951, Highsmith has seen multiple titles from her catalog get turned into both feature films and television shows. It's been a long time since the author has gotten the mainstream Hollywood treatment, however, the last time being 1999's The Talented Mr. Ripley, starring Matt Damon, Jude Law and Gwenyth Paltrow. Now her work is making its triumphant return thanks in part to Zach Helm.
THR has learned that Helm, whose previous credits include the scripts for Stranger than Fiction and Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, has been hired by Fox 2000 to write an adaptation of Highsmith's 1957 suspense novel Deep Water. The plot centers on a husband trying to prevent a divorce by starting an open marriage and letting his wife sleep with whomever she wants. Trouble starts when the men that the wife is sleeping with begin to disappear. The studio describes their approach to the project as a "dark, sexy comedy." Mike Nichols was attached to helm the project at one point, but the movie currently has no director. Helm is also currently working on the script for Freezing People is Easy, a new comedy from Errol Morris starring Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig and Christopher Walken.
I'm actually a big fan of Stranger than Fiction, and while Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium didn't get the greatest welcome from critics, his new projects seem to suggest that child-friendly isn't really Helm's game. I love a great dark comedy and Highsmith's story sounds like it could be the perfect basis for one.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.