EXCLUSIVE: Denis O’Sullivan and Jeff Kalligheri’s Compelling Pictures have closed a deal to produce and finance a feature adaptation of Michael Connelly’s recent New York Times bestseller Fair Warning which is being seen as a potential franchise. Connelly will write the screen adaptation and produce alongside O’Sullivan and Kalligheri. Two-time Emmy nominee Jeffrey Pollack (Laurel Canyon) will also produce.
Fair Warning was released this summer and is the third in Connelly’s series of books about investigative journalist Jack McEvoy, who has often been cited as the character most closely resembling the author in real life, with Connelly himself having been a crime reporter for years.
The murder mystery is set around the rapidly evolving ‘wild west’ world of DNA sequence data harvesting; specifically in regard to such data being sold for profit within an industry that has no oversight. It delves into the murky moral questions raised by companies promising to show customers their ancestries, while quietly attaining the right to do whatever they desire with the acquired DNA data–and the potentially deadly ramifications of such personal information falling into the wrong hands.
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The previous two books in the Jack McEvoy series, The Poet and The Scarecrow, were also New York Times bestsellers. Connelly and the producers have early plans to tell those stories as well, after Fair Warning.
Said Connelly, “I’m very excited to be joining Denis and the two Jeffs on this project. From day one we have all been on the same creative page and think there is a movie here that will be a great thrill ride; at the same time it takes a hard look at questions about genetic culture and privacy.”
“Michael Connelly is at the forefront of his many fields, and we could not be more excited to work with him as the author and screenwriter on this film. When we first started talking about this incredible book with Michael, and found that we had the same touchstones in movies like Chinatown, Zodiac, and Seven, it became evident that we’d be incredibly fortunate to go on this journey together, hopefully the first of several. Huge thanks to Jeff Pollack for bringing us all to the table and making this unnerving flick with us,” said O’Sullivan and Kalligheri.
Connelly has sold over 74M books worldwide which have been translated into 40 languages. He is an EP and writer on the long-running Amazon series Bosch,
which is based upon his Edgar Award-winning novels and is about to begin production on its seventh season. Previous feature adaptations of Connelly novels include The Lincoln Lawyer, which starred Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey, and Blood Work, which starred and was directed by Oscar-winner Clint Eastwood.
O’Sullivan is the EP of four-time Oscar winner Bohemian Rhapsody which racked up close to $904M WW, and he also executive produced the MGM reboot of Tomb Raider ($274.6M WW), and other notable pics as the Brad Pitt-Marion Cotillard WWII epic Allied and YA feature adaptation The 5th Wave. Kalligheri’s feature EP credits include the Wim Wenders-directed Submergence starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander and James McAvoy and the Ben Kingsley-Theo James historical drama Backstabbing for Beginners.
In August, Compelling Pictures announced plans to finance and produce the Whitney Houston musical biopic, I Wanna Dance With Somebody, alongside
producers Pat Houston, Anthony McCarten, Clive Davis, and Larry Mestel. That film is being written by McCarten, directed by Stella Meghie, and will be distributed worldwide in 2022 by Sony via their Tristar label.
Compelling also has the feature project Wednesday at Warren’s, Friday at Bill’s in development. Based upon a soon-to-be published Harper-Collins non-fiction book by McCarten, it focuses on the unlikely relationship between Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Four-time Oscar nominee McCarten will adapt it for the big screen.
The Fair Warning deal was brokered by Diane A. Golden of Katz Golden Lerner LLP and Joel Gotler of IPG on behalf of Connelly; and by Evan Krauss of Eisner LLP on behalf of Compelling.