a suspense novelists trail of deception

Now that Jake Gyllenhaal has shed his leading-man persona and embraced the unhinged character actor he was always destined to be, the Velvet Buzzsaw actor will play the ultimate in unhinged roles: a slowly unraveling writer. Gyllenhaal is teaming up with Janicza Bravo, the writer and director behind the Sundance hit Zola, to develop a series adaptation of Ian Parker’s New Yorker article A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions, which explores the “complex life” of The Woman in the Window writer Dan Mallory.

Annapurna has tapped Janicza Bravo to write and direct a series adaptation of A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions, which follows the life of former book editor Dan Mallory, who wrote his debut psychological thriller and New York Times bestseller, The Woman in the Window, under the pseudonym A.J. Finn. But that historic success of writing the first debut novel to hit No. 1 on the New York Times bestseller list in 12 years, came after years of struggles and even stranger twists for Mallory, which were chronicled in Parker’s fascinating article.

According to Deadline, the series will follow “an unreliable narrator who nurses brain tumors he does not have and mourns family members who are not dead while preying on people’s sympathy to get away with almost anything.”

Bravo, who serves as executive producer alongside Gyllenhaal and Riva Marker for Nine Stories as well as Annapurna’s Megan Ellison, Sue Naegle, Sammy Scher, and Susan Goldberg, will co-write the pilot of the series with Brian Savelson. Salveson and Parker are also co-executive producers.

“What may have started out as my dog ate homework turns into my mother died of cancers, my brother took his life and I have a double doctorate,” said Bravo. “Our protagonist is white, male and pathological. There is a void in him and he fills it by duping people. He’s a scammer. The series examines white identity and how we as an audience participate in making room for this behavior. Getting to partner with Annapurna and Nine Stories is a gift and I am most thrilled for what lies ahead.”

Bravo made her directorial debut with the 2017 indie comedy Lemon, but really made a splash with Zola, based on a truly insane viral Twitter thread about a stripper’s cross-country road trip that goes horribly wrong. Zola, which stars Taylour Paige and Riley Keough, premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival where it was met with positive reviews (including one from our own Chris Evanglista) and was picked up by A24 and Sony International. So Bravo has experience adapting stranger-than-fiction stories based in reality and turning them into arthouse entertainment. And with Gyllenhaal — who has been seen making increasingly batty turns in films like Nightcrawler, Okja, and even specials like John Mulaney & the Sack Lunch Bunch — on board, A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions could be quite a ride.

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