Exit A (2007) – Anthony Sworford
Following the success of his Gulf War memoir Jarhead, Anthony Sworford turned his attention to fiction. Drawing from his time experiences of growing up on a military base Exit A tells the story of teenager Severin Boxx. Set on an American military base in Tokyo in the late 80’s against a backdrop of the uneasy coexistence of American and Japanese cultures. Severin has a relatively ordinary life until his infatuation for Virginia the base commandant (and Severin’s football coach)‘s half-Japanese daughter puts them both on a path that will change both their lives for ever. Fast forward fifteen years, Severin is married and living a comfortable if unsatisfied life In San Francisco until his old coach asks him to find Virginia. A cast of unknown teenagers and A-list older actors would make a great combination, and who better to direct than Sam Mendes who did a great job with Jarhead.
Ash Wednesday (2002) – Ethan Hawke
Yes the movie-star Ethan Hawke is also a talented author. US Army Staff Sergeant Jimmy Heartsock is a 30 year old teenager, his favourite pastimes include “drinking and talking about ass, bowling, driving fast and basketball”. His lack of emotional maturity comes to the fore when he dumps Christy Ann Walker, his pregnant girlfriend and goes on a crystal-meth bender. A disastrous meeting informing a woman of the death of her son gives Jimmy a new life focus. Realising he must get Christy back whatever the cost he sets off on a road trip across country going AWOL in the process. Having already adapted and directed the movie of his first novel The Hottest State (novel 1996, movie 2006) Hawke would be the perfect director, sadly he is too old to play the lead role.
Agent ZigZag (2007) – Ben Macintyre
The true story of criminal turned wartime spy Eddie Chapman has already been made into a movie, Triple Cross (1966) starring Christopher Plummer. Unfortunately, the movie was both an inaccurate version of events and a poor movie to boot. Ben Macintyre’s book should provide a good basis for a movie. Michael Fassbender would be perfect as Chapman and Steven Spielberg would bring the right blend of fun and gravity to the story.
Already Dead (2005) – Charlie Huston
Had enough of vampire movies? I know many peoples answer to that question is yes! Personally I can’t get enough of them. Written in the style of a pulp detective novel Already Dead is the first of the Joe Pitt Casebook series of novels. The Manhattan underworld is run vampire clans, independent of the clans Joe Pitt is a Vampire and a detective, he must find a missing rich girl and get to the bottom of a zombie epidemic that is sweeping through the city whilst facing the age old vampire problem, the need for blood. At a risk of turning him into a specialist vampire movie director I would go for David Slade in the directors chair and James McAvoy to star as Pitt.
Tokyo Station aka December 6 (2002) – Martin Cruz Smith
You thought Rick Blaine had problems in Casablanca? Spare a thought for Harry Niles. Tokyo, December 1941, Harry, an American, runs the “Happy Paris”, a club frequented by American and European expatriates. As America and Japan are about to enter World War II, Harry’s only concern should be leaving Japan while he still can but things aren’t that simple as problems stack up against him. The only thing that can save him are his instincts, and an knowledge of the city and language like no other westerner. What could be a good old-fashioned movie needs an old-fashioned movie-star and the only actor working in Hollywood today with those credentials is George Clooney. Add to that director Martin Scorsese and we could have a great movie.
The Magicians’ Guild (2001) – Trudi Canavan
The Magicians’ Guild is the first of Trudi Canavan The Black Magician Trilogy set in an imaginary land where magic and magicians are prevalent. Imardin, the capital city of Kyralia is home to The Magicians’ Guild of the title, magic can only be performed by magicians who are members of the Guild. The Guild is the preserve of the rich and privileged classes, Sonea is a “dwell”, one of the city’s poor under-class but she is a natural magician, when her powers manifest she comes to the attention of The Guild who have a decision to make about her future and her life, if they can find her. With two direct sequels, and a prequel already published as well as a second trilogy on the way there is plenty of material for a movie franchise. The movie really needs a teenage lead but a slightly older actress may get away with it, I would suggest Evan Rachel Wood. The film would need a director with an eye for fantasy, possibly Alfonso Cuarón or Timur Bekmambetov.
The Rhythm Section (1999) – Mark Burnell
It was suggested in 2005 that New Line Cinema would be adapting The Rhythm Section (1999) but it never appeared. Along with it sequels Chameleon (2001), Gemini (2003) and The Third Woman (2005) The Rhythm Section is crying out for a movie. Stephanie Patrick’s life was destroyed by a plane crash that killed her family, the downward spiral that passes for her life is halted by as she investigates the cause of the crash setting in motion a sequence of events that she could never have imagined. As she takes on different identities (Petra Reuter, a German anarchist turned mercenary terrorist; Lisa, a prostitute; Susan Branch, an American student; Marina Gaudenzi, a Swiss businesswoman; Elizabeth Shepherd, an English management consultant) the story ceases to be about terrorism and revenge and turns into an intimate portrait of a search for identity disguised as an exciting thriller. For a director I would like to see first lady of action at the helm Kathryn Bigelow. Two very different German actresses spring to mind for the lead: Franka Potente and Diane Kruger, depending on their ability to pull off a convincing English accent a slight rewrite may be needed.
The Cutting Room (2003) – Louise Welsh
I have read two of the Glaswegian authors books and had trouble choosing between this one and The Bullet Trick (2007). I actually prefer The Bullet Trick as a novel but think the more conventional narative of The Cutting Room would work better as a movie. Whilst clearing a house Glaswegian auctioneer Rilke comes across a series of disturbing photographs from the ‘50s. He soon becomes obsessed with ascertaining the authenticity of the images. His quest to discover if a young woman was murdered or if the photographs were staged takes him to places he really shouldn’t go. As for the director return to Scotland for Danny Boyle could be perfect or David Fincher if the story was moved to America. Dougray Scott or Jude Law for the lead role.
A Long Way Down (2005) – Nick Hornby
London, New Years Eve – Four strangers have the same plan for the night, suicide. Unfortunately they all find themselves at the same place, the roof of a tall building known as “Topper’s House”. Not wanting an audience, their meeting puts pay to their immediate plans. The characters are: Martin Sharp – A middle aged former TV show host whose perfect life was ruined after spending three months in prison in prison for haxing sex with an underage (by115 days) girl. Maureen – A 51-year-old single mother whose entire adult life has been devoted to caring for her disabled son Matty. JJ – An American musician who came to London with Lizzy. After being dumped by Lizzie and the break-up of his band he took a job delivering pizzas. Jess Crichton – An impulsive eighteen year old daughter of a politician who seems to have little reason to be on the roof with the others. It transpires that her sister is missing and believed to have committed suicide a few years earlier. The remainder of the story combines the back story of the quartet and their future plans for life, and death. I can’t make my mind up on the casting, Martin will be by far the hardest character to cast. I am led to believe Johnny Depp owns the film rights, is he thinking of playing Martin?
Tokyo aka The Devil of Nanking (2004) – Mo Hayder
A young woman known as “Grey” is obsessed with the 1937 Japanese invasion of Nanking, She travels to Japan to find an elderly professor who survived the massacre and who she believes has footage of the massacre. The professor agrees to show her the footage in exchange for a mysterious Chinese medicine ingredient held the Yakuza. She finds her way into the Japanese underworld via a job in a Tokyo host club. As the story unfolds we discover the secrets of Grey’s past as well as the events of the massacre of Nanking. Catherine Hardwicke would be a perfect director Gemma Arterton could be great as Grey.
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