Author Nelson DeMille has a number of great recurring characters, but the witty, occasionally cocky detective John Corey may be the most memorable of the bunch, so it stands to reason that we’d see the character on the big or small screen sooner or later. As it happens, it’s looking like Corey is TV-bound, as Demille says he’s secured a deal with Lionsgate to adapt Plum Island for the small screen. Details are vague at the moment, but it doesn’t sound like we’ll have to wait long as he says the first episode could air as soon as next Summer (2014).
So, Lionsgate is producing, “hopefully” John Corey will be played by Aaron Eckhart, and with any luck this project will air next summer on a yet-to-be-revealed cable channel.
Plum Island introduces us to NYPD homicide cop John Corey, who is resting up out east on Long Island after being wounded in the line of duty when he’s drawn into a murder investigation after a young couple he knows — two biologists from the Plum Island research facility — are murdered. As you might guess, the nature of the work the two victims did on the top secret island factors into their death and the bigger picture points to a situation that could have global implications. It’s been years since I’ve read this book (it was published in 1997), but I liked it and Corey enough to read The Lions Game and Night Fall, the next two books in what went on to become the John Corey series. I may have to revisit Plum Island at some point before this TV project debuts.
Looking at DeMille’s post, I have a number of questions, including: When he says hopefully John Corey will be played by Aaron Eckhart, is he just expressing his own personal hope that the I, Frankenstein star will play the lead? Or is Eckhart in talks for the part? That part is unclear, but it’s intriguing, especially considering Eckhart’s work has consisted mostly of feature roles (Olympus has Fallen, The Dark Knight, Battle Los Angeles).
Also unclear is the network. DeMille says "cable channel." Does that mean premium cable or basic? Looking at Lionsgate, it could be either. The studio’s TV branch has series on multiple channels, including AMC (Mad Men), FX (Anger Management) and Showtime (Nurse Jackie). They’ve also worked with Starz (Boss, Crash) and even Syfy (The Dresden Files), though I’m thinking Syfy is unlikely here, as the cable channel has Helix set to go next month. Unless they’re looking to do another show with a plot related to a possible viral outbreak.
And then there's the question of the format. Is this a full-on series or a limited series/mini-series? Given that it’s an adaptation of a book, the latter might be the assumption, but lead character John Corey’s story resumes through numerous books, dealing with a number of other investigations, so this could very well be stretched into a full series. Plum Island is the first John Corey book. It’s followed by The Lion’s Game, Night Fall, Wild Fire, The Lion and The Panther. There’s no shortage of material to work with here.
DeMIlle’s previously adapted books are Word of Honor, which was made into a TV movie that aired in 2003, and The General’s Daughter, a feature film that starred John Travolta and released in 1999. DeMille says more details will follow on the Plum Island TV project, so we may expect to hear a full announcement soon. In the meantime, as a fan of his books, and of Corey in particular, this is exciting.