More than fifty years after its first publication, British writer Robin Maugham’s controversial 1967 novelThe Wrong People is getting a movie adaptation.
Arthouse outfit Peccadillo Pictures, the UK’s foremost distributor of LGBT movies, is teaming up on the project with veteran UK screenwriter David McGillivray Schizo, who has adapted the novel and will make his directorial debut.
Set against the backdrop of 1960s Tangier, the thriller tells the story of Arnold Turner, a repressed English schoolmaster on holiday in Morocco, where he meets Ewing Baird, a wehy American expat with a dark secret. As Turner becomes more involved with Ewing he realizes he has been lured into a dangerous trap.
Maugham's first explicitly gay-themed novel was critically praised but also garnered controversy. Homosexuality was still illegal in Britain for most of the 1960s.
The book was reprinted several times, including in the Gay Modern Classics series, and was once optioned for a film version by Hollywood star Sal Mineo Rebel Without a Cause.
“Maugham created a moral dilemma in 1967” says McGillivray about the openly gay writer. “He handled it brilliantly, but the subject was so taboo that a film was out of the question. Now, because we're so aware of what's been covered up for years, I want to remind audiences of what this great writer said so long ago. And in addition to the issues raised, The Wrong People is also a superb suspense thriller.”
War veteran and politician Maugham pictured above, centre, the nephew of popular British playwright and novelist Somerset Maugham, is probably best known in literary circles for his novella The Servant which was the basis for the 1963 Jospeh Losey film of the same name with Dirk Bogarde, James Fox and Sarah Miles. He died in 1981.
McGillivray, best known for his 1970s collaborations with director Pete Walker on movies including House of Whipcord and Frightmare, was inspired to tackle the project after reading a biography of Mineo, who had optioned the book as a potential directing vehicle before his murder in 1976. McGillivray secured the film rights and wrote a screenplay that is said to have the blessing of Mineo's former partner Courtney Burr and Maugham's former partner William Lawrence.
The Wrong People is currently in pre-production. The aim is to shoot in the UK and Morocco in 2020. Casting discussions are under way.
Universal has picked up the film rights to New York Times bestselling author Tracy Wolff’s upcoming YA vampire novel Crave.
Crave, billed as a paranormal fantasy with a feminist perspective, follows a human girl who finds herself in the midst of a conflict between warring factions when she falls for a vampire prince, Jaxon Vega. He’s a vampire with deadly secrets who hasn't felt anything for a hundred years. But there's something about him that calls to her, something broken in him that somehow fits with what's broken in her - which could spell death for both of them. The young girl learns that Jaxon has walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake him, a sleeping monster, and she could very well be the bait. The book is available for sale tomorrow, April 7 from Entangled Publishing, distributed by Macmillan in New York.
Wolff is the bestselling author of 64 novels that run the gamut of commercial fiction. She’s a former English professor who now writes full-time from her home in Austin, Texas.
Universal's SVP of Production Jeyun Munford and Creative Executive Christine Sun will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.
Wolff is represented by Emily Sylvan Kim of The Prospect Agency. The deal was negotiated by Nicole Resciniti, The Alliance Rights Agency, and Debbie Deuble Hill at APA.
Neon has had a banner year since picking up the U.S. distribution rights to Parasite, ushering the film to a history-making Best Picture win at the 2020 Oscars. Now the indie film distributor has won the domestic rights to the Nicolas Cage revenge thriller Pig and the Sundance favorite Possessor, directed by Brandon Cronenberg.
Variety reports that Neon, the U.S. distributor behind Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning film Parasite, has won the domestic rights to the Nicolas Cage-starring revenge thriller Pig, directed by first-time filmmaker Michael Sarnoski.
Written and directed by Sarnoski, Pig stars Cage as “a reclusive truffle hunter in Oregon whose prize hunting pig is kidnapped, forcing him to return to old stomping grounds in Portland and confront his past.” The film also stars Hereditary‘s Alex Wolff, and is based on a story by Sarnoski and Vanessa Block, who also produced alongside Pulse Films.
Neon won the rights in a heated bidding war last week that involved “numerous competitors.” Based on the film’s premise of a man and his animal in the American frontier, I’d guess one of those competitors is fellow indie wunderkind A24. Don’t worry A24, you still have the lovely First Cow. Endeavor Content, which first showed the promo footage for Pig at February’s Berlin Film Festival, is continuing to seek international partners.
Neon continued its hot streak with the acquisition of the U.S. rights to Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor, a sci-fi thriller starring Andrea Riseborough as a corporate agent who works for a “secretive organization using brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies and commit assassinations for high-paying clients,” according to Neon’s press release. The film, which /Film reviewer Chris Evangelista wants everyone to know, “rules,” debuted in January to the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews, including ours.
“Neon is a hugely exciting distributor, and I’ve been eager to work with them for a while now. I’m thrilled they are taking on ‘Possessor’ in collaboration with Well Go USA, who made production of the film possible,” Cronenberg said in a statement.
Neon’s acquisitions are a nice return to regular movie news as the industry continues to stay at a standstill in the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, which has shuttered movie theaters around the country and forced studios to indefinitely delay major releases. Despite the demand for early digital releases and Neon’s own partnership with Hulu, Neon still plans to release Pig at a to-be-determined date. No release date has yet been set for Possessor.