Thursday, March 20, 2008

William Monahan Hired to Write Undercover Thriller

Graham King and William Monahan

I almost didn't write anything about this, but once I heard what the story was about I was mesmerized - you need to hear this. Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan (right above) of The Departed and Body of Lies has been hired to write the script for an untitled thriller for Paramount. The story is based on a real life article that will appear in Playboy later this year about a drug dealer who goes undercover in an insane asylum. While there is no director attached yet, I'm sure this project will attract high caliber talent.

Jim Keene was the son of a police chief who was caught dealing drugs. As an alternative to a 10 years-to-life sentence, he was allowed to go undercover at a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane, where he tried to get a serial killer who was believed to have murdered 25 women to divulge the whereabouts of his victims. Only the prison psychiatrist knew Keene was undercover, plus a visiting "girlfriend" who was actually an FBI agent.

I love the sound of that, like a powerhouse combination of Oscar-winners The Departed and Silence of the Lambs all in one! This definitely could turn into something incredible. The film is being produced by Graham King (The Aviator, The Departed), seen to the left of Monahan in the photo above, and Alexandra Milchan (Street Kings, Righteous Kill). Monahan just struck a new first look deal with King, which means that he will work in their office as a resident writer and could instantly be tied to new projects. "It'll be fantastic to have a writer of Bill's caliber in the office every day, not just to write, but to bounce ideas off."

A few weeks back we also confirmed that Monahan was tied to an American remake of The Chaser. No word on which will come first, but it sounds like this script for King is the priority. I'm admittedly very excited to see this come together. We could have the next big Oscar-winning thriller in the makings. Or at least Monahan will continue to whip out fantastic scripts on par with The Departed for years to come.

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