Last week, ABC announced they were "updating" Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe as the basis for a possible TV series set in present-day Los Angeles. Now Universal Pictures has announced that they are developing a new Marlowe movie, a period-piece that will star Brit Clive Owen.
Strike has made a deal with Phil Clymer at U.K.-based Chorion to get
rights to a Chandler mystery series that includes "The Big Sleep" and
"Farewell My Lovely." Strike’s Marc Abraham and Eric Newman will
produce the film, with Owen exec producing. The project is in a nascent
stage — they are courting writers and filmmakers — and they haven’t
decided which title to adapt.
But they sparked to having Owen
narrate the dramas in Chandler’s testosterone-laced prose, something
Owen did well in "Sin City." The plan is to keep the noir spirit of the
Chandler books, and keep the mysteries set in the 1940s in Los Angeles,
with Marlowe continuing to be the hard-drinking, wisecracking gumshoe.
The irony is that the last Marlowe movie starred Robert Mitchum and was set in London. This is sort of the reverse of what Universal has in mind this time. What I don’t understand is how it’s possible for these dueling projects to exist…has Marlowe slipped into the public domain? If not, there’s probably a very interesting (and very complicated) rights story behind this…