It's almost surprising that we haven't seen more films based on Harlan Coben books. The New Jersey-born author has published 25 novels in the last 23 years, and his last five novels debuted at No. 1 on the New York Times Best Seller list - yet only one of his works so far has been adapted for the film. It may have something to do with the fact that Coben has expressed a wariness of seeing his stories sold for the screen. On his website he comments, regarding film adaptations, "Hollywood is a tricky animal and one a novelist is best keeping at arm’s length."
Tell No One - a French thriller based on Coben's novel of the same name - was produced in France and released in 2006. The remake rights were bought by Focus Features and Miramax Films several years ago. Progress has been slow on the remake; screenwriter Andrew Dominik was tapped to write the script in 2010, and a year later Ben Affleck signed on as director. With Affleck picking up directing jobs left and right, however, it's uncertain exactly when we'll see his version of Tell No One on our screens.
It seems that Focus and Miramax might end up in a race with Paramount Pictures' recently-acquired adaptation of Coben's novel Six Years, which was published only yesterday. The film doesn't have a screenwriter or director signed on yet, but THR has revealed that Hugh Jackman is now attached to play the lead role. Tom Rothman, former Co-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fox Filmed Entertainment, will produce the adaptation alongside Criminal Minds and Grey's Anatomy executive producer Mark Gordon.
The novel is a stand-alone thriller, separate from Coben's popular Myron Bolitar series. Here's the official synopsis from Amazon:
Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.
But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for…but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for almost two decades, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out.
As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found, or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart, who lied to him, soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on a carefully constructed fiction.
Though Six Years might have romance at its heart, early reviews suggest that the novel carries a lot of weight as a suspense thriller and has a number of action sequences that could translate well to the big screen. Coming fresh off an Oscar nomination for his performance in Les Misérables, Jackman sounds like an excellent match for the role of Six Years' obsessed intellectual driven by the desire to find out what happened to the love of his life. If it sounds like a more action-thriller-oriented version of Jackman's role in Darren Aronofsky's The Fountain... well, you wouldn't be the only one to make that connection...
Jackman also recently reprised his role as Logan in James Mangold's The Wolverine, which will be released in theaters on July 26th. The first trailer is scheduled to debut ahead of G.I. Joe: Retaliation screenings, starting next week.
If there are any Harlan Coben fans amongst our readers, let us know what you think about this casting news in the comments. Are there any other Coben novels that you'd like to see produced for the big screen, or do you agree with the author's belief that Hollywood is best kept at arm's length?
We'll keep you updated on the development of Six Years.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter