Steve Zaillian Grabs Those Who Wish Me Dead

Adapting forthcoming crime novel by Michael Koryta

It isn't published until next year, but that hasn't stopped Fox from stepping in early and grabbing the rights to Michael Koryta's crime novel Those Who Wish Me Dead. Screenwriter and producer Steve Zaillian will be overseeing the movie version through his Film Rites banner, with his cohort Garrett Basch.

The story, as synopsis-ed so far, involves a Indiana teenager who stumbles across a murder scene of notorious killers the Blackwell Brothers and is placed in a witness protection programme. Taken in by a couple who run a wilderness adventure scheme for young boys, he ends up in the Montana mountains where, unfortunately for him, the Blackwells track him down and set off in deadly pursuit.

The bestselling and award-winning Koryta knows his genre from experience: he was a private eye in a previous career, and also worked as a journalist. He's currently working on adapting his novel So Cold The River for New Regency Pictures; Chris Columbus is working on his The Cypress House; and a movie of his The Prophet (not to be confused with the Kahlil Gibran adaptation or the brilliant Un Prophet) is also in the works. Truly he is Hollywood's new John Grisham.

Zaillian meanwhile has, of course, written and produced for Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Ridley Scott among many others, as well as directing himself. His latest project in production is Scott's Moses epic Exodus. It's not yet clear whether he plans involvement in Those Who Wish Me Dead beyond producing.

There's no start date and no further personnel at the moment. Koryta's novel is published in the UK by Hodder & Stoughton next June.