Scott got back to me fairly quickly when I reached out to him, and he told me that he had just finished talking to Mangold and Bale, and that he was hard at work on the project. My first question for him, and the most urgent question, was how hey were handling the time period. The McGee books are about Florida as the Wild West, a precursor to the rancid wilderness of the Carl Hiaasen novels, and I think of McDonald's Florida as being very much of a particular time and place.
"We’re doing it present day," Frank told me, and he went on to explain, "We deal with the anachronistic qualities of Travis by making him a loner, a vet of the Middle East bullshit wars and now broke as shit and living on a boat. You’d be surprised by how much still works from the period this way."
See, here's why I'm willing to give that the benefit of the doubt, even if it's a choice I wouldn't make. They're obviously talking about it. It's obviously a conversation that is active and ongoing, and they've got their approach. When you're adapting something, I don't demand that you blindly echo every choice the original made; I do ask that you consider changes if you're going to make them, and that you have a reason.
Frank went on to say, "Also, Florida is being overrun now by South American ex pats trying to hide their money. It’s the same colorful shit hole it was back then, so a lot of the issues there remain. We’ve just updated the socio-political context. We’ve amped up the sexual component to Travis as well as the stoner component. He gets high in this more than he’s sitting in bars drinking Dark & Stormy’s as he does in the books. Small things like that…"
It sounds like they're nowhere near done yet, but that they're approaching it as a team. He and Mangold are in communication, the two of them focused on this version of Travis McGee, and I'm willing to wait to see how they make all their choices before I react. I know they're going to try to make something great. Besides, Frank had one last thing he wanted to emphasize: "Bale will rock it."
Rosamund Pike Lands Female Lead in ‘The Deep Blue Good-by’
James Mangold is directing with Chernin Entertainment, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson-Killoran producing for Appian Way along with Amy Robinson.
First written by John D. MacDonald in 1964, “The Deep Blue Good-by” is the first in a series of 21 that followed Travis McGee, to be played by Christian Bale in the pic, a self-described “salvage consultant” who recovers others’ property for a fee and along the way gets into trouble fighting bad guys and wooing women.
Dennis Lehane penned the script with Scott Frank working on the most recent draft.
Following the success of “Gone Girl,” which grossed more than $350 million at the worldwide box office and earned Pike an Oscar nomination, Fox and Pike seem happy staying in business with one another.
After the huge opening weekend of “Gone Girl,” Fox quickly offered Pike the female lead in its survival drama “The Mountains Between Us” which she will shoot after “The Deep Blue Good-by” in order for ‘Mountain’ to be ready for the proper weather conditions needed to tell the story.