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Page to Screen: Top Books to Movies 2012 #4
You Can't beat a Good Action Thriller!
Over the course of this series we've been looking at various books that are ripe and ready to burst into a silver screen near you this year and early next year. We looked at drama, romance and a couple of classics. I am sure the action buffs amongst you are itching for a good ol' action thriller. Fear not, for here we'll see two famous action thrillers that are in the works and even have the potential to either become new franchises or reinvigorate some old ones.
Filmmakers always loved to borrow a badass action hero from the literary world. Right from the days of film noir, when Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Hammet's Sam Spade graced our screens, audience have rooted for tough guys with many shades of grey in their personalities. They may break the rules, defy convention, have dubious moral- but they always got the villain in some style. Then came the ultimate action hero, James Bond. First featuring in Dr No, released in 1962, Bond has survived 50 years of political change and international intrigue to reach the 21st century. The 50th anniversary of Bond franchise will be celebrated in style with the release of the 23rd film, Skyfall, this year.
Over the past few decades Hollywood has time and again mined the rich resources of thriller to find new heroes and new franchises. Here are two of the same ilk.
Popular Action HeroesClick thumbnail to view full-size
AUTHOR: LEE CHILD
Jack Reacher, ex-US Army Major, decorated multiple times, worked in the special military police unit, is now a drifter. He's is a 6' 5" goliath with a 50 inch chest, whose no nonsense attitude and anti-establishment mentality means he carries nothing but a toothbrush, some money and en expired passport. He has a near savant abilities and a relentless pursuer of bullies. Reacher is a semi-vigilante who drifts from place to place much in the tradition of the Old West's man with no name. He gets embroiled in mysteries and local misdemeanors although he tries to avoid them. His sole purpose is to travel across the expanse of US , the one country he never got to explore due to his 13 years of military service across the world. Lee child combines brain with brawn in his stoic hero and the thrillers are at core intricately constructed mysteries that unravel under Reacher's no nonsense detection and his ability to 'read' people.One Shot is the ninth in this extremely popular series was a NY Times bestseller and was nominated the Macavity award for the best mystery novel in 2006.
In a small city in Indiana. five innocent people are massacred by a lone gunman firign into a crows in a parking garage. He leaves a trail wide enough for the police to track him down and arrest him. To his defense he only says one thing 'Get Reacher'.
But Reacher for some reason is already on his way. His main intent is not to prove the man's innocence but to bury him for what he has done. By this time the man has been beaten up mercilessly by vigilantes and has lost all memory of the day in question. The authorities believe its an open and shut case. (Don't they always?) But Reacher's not a guy who takes things for granted. He doesn't care about the law. He doesn't care about anything. He only cares about what is right. Only, the more he delves into the case the more unravels and he realises he's going going to get more than what he bargained for.
Jack Reacher - Film
One of the biggest furores about casting in recent times was all about few missing inches ( and some pounds). Author Lee Child's multimillion selling series has always been in the radar for a film franchise. The frenzied speculation around who will be cast as the 6'5" and 250 pound of sheer muscle became outraged uproar when Paramount announced the relatively diminutive Tom Cruise in the role. Author Lee Child himself came out in support ( why won't he?) and said that Reacher's height and weight in the books is to suggest a sense of an unstoppable force and Tom can convey this without the extra inches of height by his sheer 'actorly' magnetism.
The Film stars Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher ( the film has chosen to go with the eponymous title- signalling the beginning of a franchise - rather than the book title 'one shot' as originally announced. Frankly I prefer the latter.), Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Richard Jenkins, Alexia Fast, Robert Duvall, Jai Courtney and Werner Herzog ( yes the reknowned director plays the villain!)
Christopher McQuarrie, who won an Oscar for his script 'The Usual Suspects' and later going on an directing , The Way of the Warrior and Valkyrie is in the director's chair.
The Film is scheduled for release on Dec 21st this year.
AUTHOR: JAMES PATTERSON
James Patterson's long running popular series features FBI investigator Alex Cross. In this 12th novel, Alex Cross faces a crime most personal to him.Back in 1993 Alex and his partner witness a gruseome mob hit executed by Michales Sullivan (a.k.a.) "The Butcher". In an attempt to intimidate Alex, the butcher visits him at his home that Alex shares with his pregnant wife. Cross loses his wife in the ensuing battle. Fast forward to 2005 as Alex resigns from his FBI career to set up a private practice and crosses paths with a figure that has haunted him for years .
He sets about investigating a series of rape- murders while in a parallel narrative we follow the trail of the still active 'Butcher' in Venice. The hunter becomes the hunted as the mob family which hosted him no longer need his services. As the Butcher returns to Washington to fend of the mob who are now trying to kill him, his path crosses with Alex who recognizes the blast from the past.
Both realize that all is not what it seems in this twisted thriller.
Alex Cross - Film
FBI profiler Alex cross has been portrayed on screen in a couple of uneven thrillers by stellar actor Morgan Freeman in 1997 ( Kiss the Girls) and in 2001 ( Along came a Spider). Following a trend of serial killer-thrillers after the success of The Silence of the Lambs, these two films were moderately successful, but never reaching the standard set by the latter.
In an attempt to reboot the lucrative franchise, Alex Cross returns to screen with a brand new lead in Tyler Perry. The Madea actor takes on the serious role and has got some very big shoes to fill. Originally titled I, Alex Cross there was considerable confusion on the internet and media as most people thought the story was adapted from the novel of the same title ( the 16th Alex Cross novel which is a different storyline involving a series of call girl murders, one of whom happens to be Alex's estranged niece)
However the name is now simply 'Alex Cross' and it features an almost unrecognizably ripped Matthew Fox ( Lost) as 'Picasso', Edward Burns, Rachel Nichols and Jean Reno (Leon). The screenplay is said to be loosely adapted from 'Cross' and sets the scene for the character as an opener for a series. Young Alex Cross moves to Washington to take on his brand new job as an FBI profiler. In his first major assignment investigating a series of murders, he crosses paths with an ex-military killer on the loose and his investigations bring those close to him in the line of fire. But Cross is not going to take this one lying down.
The action thriller is directed by Rob Cohen ( XXX, Fast and the Furious) who is no stranger to handling explosive story lines and nail biting action.
Set to be released on the 19th of October 2012