Butcher's Crossing

Joe Penhall has been hired by Focus Features to adapt the John Williams‘ 1960 Western novel Butcher’s Crossing, which Sam Mendes might direct. The New York Times called the book “the first and best revisionist western” and “harsh and relentless yet muted in tone,” noting that “Butcher’s Crossing paved the way for Cormac McCarthy.”  Penhall is notable for writing the screenplay adaptation for Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road, as well as Some Voices and Enduring Love.

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Now that The Road is finally about to get a release, director John Hillcoat and screenwriter Joe Penhall are moving on to their next projects. Variety reports that Penhall is potentially writing a remake of the 1973 French heist/romance picture La bonne année, about a thief planning to rob a Cannes jewelers after his release from prison, for star Daniel Craig. We can never have too many heist pictures, even remakes, so I’m all for it. Meanwhile, Hillcoat has a couple of interesting things on the burner, too. Read More »

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Patricia Highsmith must surely be one of the most adapted authors in the history of cinema with her Ripley books alone giving us five theatrical features. Her novel Strangers on a Train has also been filmed a good few times, with varying degrees of success and fidelity. The most famous version, not to mention the most brilliant was Hitchcock’s film, and there is also a likely-redundant do-over currently in development. There really are some foolhardy folk in the movie industry, aren’t there?

As yet unfilmed, I believe, is her novel Deep Water, now over fifty years old without a single adaptation. This will change in the coming months, however, as Mike Nichols has been attached to realise it cinematically with Joe Penhall, writer of the upcoming adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, set to handle scripting duties for him. Nichols we can all vouch for, and Penhall’s certainly drawing some positive attentions.

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