'American Crime Story' Producers Option New Yorker Writer's 'Say Nothing' for FX (Exclusive)

Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson will develop the book about Northern Ireland as a limited series along with author Patrick Radden Keefe.
Doubleday Publishing; Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The New Yorker
Patrick Radden Keefe

FX is headed into the Troubles with its latest project.

The cable network and production company Color Force (American Crime Story, Pose) have optioned New Yorker writer Patrick Radden Keefe's book Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland to develop as a limited series. The book tells the story of a notorious abduction and murder in the height of Northern Ireland's sectarian conflict and the decades of fallout that followed.

Color Force's Brad Simpson and Nina Jacobson will serve as executive producers along with Keefe. A search for a writer to adapt the book is underway.

"We're always on the lookout for a literary page-turner, and when we started Patrick's book we couldn't put it down," Simpson and Jacobson told The Hollywood Reporter. "We're very excited he's partnering with us to tell this story on FX."

Simpson told THR that Color Force got the galleys for the book in the fall and immediately began pursuing it. FX, where Color Force has an overall deal, quickly came on board, and they locked down rights for the book, which was published Feb. 26.

Said Simpson, "It's in the sweet spot for us and FX — on some level it's a crime thriller, an espionage thriller, but it's also about something more deep and resonant," a la American Crime Story, which Jacobson and Simpson exec produce. 

Say Nothing chronicles the 1972 abduction of Jean McConville, a 38-year-old widow with 10 children, who was taken from her home in Belfast by suspected members of the Irish Republican Army. McConville, rumored to be a British informant, was never seen alive again.

In 2003, five years after a peace accord ended armed conflict between republican and loyalist factions, McConville's remains were discovered on a beach. Keefe's book uses the case as an entry point to a story about a society wracked by a guerrilla war whose consequences have never really been reckoned with, with portraits of key figures on all sides of the conflict.

Simpson also thinks the book's subject is "only more relevant now that the world has turned to talking about what's happening in Ireland with Brexit, and will the Troubles start again."

In addition to Pose and American Crime Story, Jacobson and Simpson are also exec producing the upcoming Y: The Last Man adaptation for FX. The cabler's drama roster also includes American Horror Story, Mayans MC, the limited series Fosse/Verdon, Snowfall, Legion (which is ending in 2019) and Taboo.

Keefe is repped by WME and Jackoway Tyerman.