Toronto 2011: Frank Marshall Developing Jeffrey Archer's 'A Matter of Honor' as Action Movie (Exclusive)

6:45 AM PST 09/13/2011 by Etan Vlessing
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The "Bourne" movie franchise producer is to bring two best-selling espionage novels by the British writer to the big screen, in partnership with Toronto's New Franchise Media.

TORONTO -- Millionaire British novelist Jeffrey Archer is to see his "A Matter of Honor" bestseller developed as a feature film by action movie vet Frank Marshall of The Kennedy/Marshall Company.

The espionage action/thriller is the first feature in a potential franchise from Canadian private equity player New Franchise Media, which last year acquired the worldwide film, TV and digital rights to a slate of ten thriller novels by Archer.

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The plan is to also create an action sequel based on Archer’s "Honor Among Thieves" novel using a recurring character from "A Matter of Honor," Adam Scott, as the main focus.

“Jeffrey Archer is a master storyteller whose suspenseful plots and compelling characters have the potential for a multi-feature film franchise with both domestic and international appeal,” Marshall said Monday in a statement.

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Jeffrey Steiner, New Franchise’s president and CEO, added Marshall represents the talent and track record he wants to attach Archer’s properties to.

He explained Marshall and Archer already know one another through a mutual appreciation for sports, and the Hollywood producer knows how to adapt a 1970s-era espionage novel into an action movie after turning the Robert Ludlum novels into the Bourne franchise.

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Marshall was also attracted to Archer’s best-selling novels selling internationally, assuring a global base for the eventual A Matter of Honor and Honor Among Thieves studio releases.

“It’s not just good enough for Hollywood to be comfortable if a movie will sell in America. They want to know it will sell around the world,” Steiner said.

The New Franchise Media topper added he aims to shoot his screen adaptations of Archer novels in Toronto, but will likely include international locations.

No word yet on a budget for the action movie adaptations, or attaching a cast or director.

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Steiner said a short-list of screenwriters has been drawn up and a first draft will be pursued over the coming months while Marshall finished up principal photography on Bourne Legacy.

Craig Emanuel and Erik Hyman of Loeb & Loeb LLP advised New Franchise Media on the A Matter of Honor development deal, and Eric M. Brooks of Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthal & LaViolette represented The Kennedy/Marshall Company.

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Archer in a statement said of the Canadian-Hollywood pact: “I am delighted to be working alongside Frank Marshall, one of Hollywood’s most respected producers. Frank is a perfect partner to help translate my work from the written page to the big screen, and I congratulate Jeff Steiner on pulling off this great collaboration.”

A Matter of Honor portrays a young ex- military officer character, Adam Scott, who unwittingly comes between rival intelligence agencies in pursuit of an object that can change the global balance of power.

Steiner, the former Toronto bureaucrat behind Pinewood Toronto Studios, last year acquired an option on Archer’s novels with an eye to striking international co-productions to bring them to the screen.

A one-time head of the Toronto Economic Development Corp., Steiner stick-handled the development of the Pinewood studio on the city's waterfront, ahead of launching New Franchise Media.

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New Franchise’s deal with Archer includes option to turn his best-selling novels into movie or TV projects.

Archer, a one-time British politician who turned to penning page-turning novels, was sent to jail in 2001 after being found guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice during a high-profile trial.

After emerging from prison, Archer resumed press tours for his novel releases, and during two appearances in Toronto struck up a relationship with Steiner.

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