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Fox 2000 has optioned the rights to Robert Crais‘ best-selling 2013 novel Suspect for an adaptation to be produced by Nina Jacobson, the producer behind the The Hunger Games franchise, and her Color Force partner Brad Simpson.
David DiGilio, who wrote the Disney Paul Walker starrer Eight Below, about dogs left behind in Antarctica, is attached to write the script.
Suspect is tells the story of rookie Los Angeles police officer Scott James, who loses his partner in a shooting and, in a form of therapy, is tasked with taking care of Maggie, a German Shepherd who lost her Marine handler in Afghanistan and who now suffers from PTSD. The novel follows the growing relationship between the policeman and the dog as they help each other heal and chase his partner’s killers.
The book mines the L.A.-based Crais’ knowledge of the city to give the novel a true local flavor and pulls off the difficult trick of turning Maggie into a full-fledged character. The paperback edition of Suspect publishes on Jan. 7.
The sale represents a rare foray into film for Crais, whose 19 novels have more than 40 million copies in print. He has steadfastly refused offers for the film rights to his best-selling Elvis Cole/Joe Pike series over the years and turned down earlier offers for Suspect.
“Nina understood Maggie and Scott, and the true nature of my novel,” said Crais about his decision to change course and sanction a movie adaptation. “When I saw the caring and brilliant job she did in bringing Suzanne‘s [Collins] books to the screen, I knew she was the perfect producer for Suspect.”
Bryan Unkeless will oversee Suspect at Color Force.
Jacobson and Unkeless are credited with discovering The Hunger Games and developing it for the big-screen. Catching Fire, the second installment in the Lionsgate franchise, has made over $729 million worldwide since it debuted in November.
Crais, who moved to California from Louisiana in 1976, started as a television writer, scripting episodes for Cagney & Lacey, L.A. Law and Miami Vice. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on Hill Street Blues. He is repped by ICM Partners.
DiGilio, who also created the TV show Traveler and worked on a sequel for Tron: Legacy, is repped by UTA, Industry Entertainment and Jackoway Tyerman.
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