Posted on Thursday, June 14th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
Will Gluck, who made the very funny Easy A as well as this year’s Friends With Benefits, may detour into a true and very strange story with one of his new opportunities. The guy has quite a few upcoming projects, including a re-team with Emma Stone, a great sex comedy heist story called Sex on the Moon, and several other options all in various stages of ‘maybe’ development.
But the novel Skyjack: The Hunt For D.B. Cooper is being set up at CBS Films, and the company has hired Gluck to produce and direct. And while Skyjack is being developed as an action comedy — a form that Gluck is working with for other films, and an increasingly common genre combination — the story is unique in that it follows a man who hijacked a plane, demanded cash and parachutes, then leapt from the craft. He was never found, and thus never caught.
Deadline reports that CBS Films has picked up the book, and says of the story:
D.B. Cooper on November 24, 1971, hijacked a Boeing 727, demanded $200,000 and parachutes, and jumped out over the Pacific Northwest. He was never caught and hailed as a folk hero. The book tracks his story from the perspectives of three different people claiming to be him.
Keith Bunin (In Treatment; the in-development biopic about Dr. Seuss) will script. That recap above is a bit simplistic, but it gives you an idea of what sort of story this could be. It sounds like the sort of thing that George Clooney and Grant Heslov might have developed, but Gluck’s comic abilities might do really well for the film. Here’s a little more about the book, which seems to take some unusual turns:
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Starting with a tip from a private investigator into a promising suspect (a Cooper lookalike, Northwest employee, and trained paratrooper), Gray is propelled into the murky depths of a decades-old mystery, conducting new interviews and obtaining a first-ever look at Cooper’s FBI file. Beginning with a heartstopping and unprecedented recreation of the crime itself, from cabin to cockpit to tower, and uncanny portraits of characters who either chased Cooper or might have committed the crime, including Ralph Himmelsbach, the most dogged of FBI agents, who watched with horror as a criminal became a counter-culture folk hero who supposedly shafted the system…Karl Fleming, a respected reporter whose career was destroyed by a Cooper scoop that was a scam…and Barbara (nee Bobby) Dayton, a transgendered pilot who insisted she was Cooper herself.