EXCLUSIVE: In the first major deal made by Greg Silverman since he was promoted to run Warner Bros‘ worldwide feature film production arm, the studio has acquired the upcoming S. Craig Zahler crime novel Mean Business On North Ganson Street as a reteam of Django Unchained stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx. Zahler will write the script and DiCaprio and his Appian Way partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran will be the producers. Sarah Schechter is steering it for the studio.
The book is in galleys and in the process of being shopped to publishers. The tale starts off with a bang: DiCaprio is a hardened detective who, after being told by a man that his beautiful wife is missing, tells him she is a hooker who obviously made off with his money. After the man commits a desperate tragic act right in the squad room, the disgraced detective is sent to a hellhole rust belt town called Victory, Missouri, where violent crime is skyrocketing. Partnered with an equally bad-assed detective who was demoted for publicly brutalizing a suspect (Foxx), the new partners get to do some real work. Police officers start showing up dead execution-style, and the cops think it might be open season on Victory’s police department.Foxx is about to open opposite Channing Tatum in the Roland Emmerich-directed White House Down, while DiCaprio next stars in the Martin Scorsese-directed The Wolf Of Wall Street. Appian Way has become a busy production company: It is prepping Ben Affleck’s adaptation of the Dennis Lehane novel Live By Night and producing Wolf Of Wall Street as well as the Brad Furman-directed Runner Runner with Affleck, Justin Timberlake, Gemma Arterton and Anthony Mackie along with Out Of The Furnace, the Scott Cooper-directed revenge tale for Relativity with Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson and Casey Affleck.
Zahler, who is repped by UTA, Caliber Media and attorney PJ Shapiro, will direct his script Bone Tomahawk for Caliber Media, 2929 Productions and Floren/Shieh. That film stars Kurt Russell, Tim Olyphant, Peter Sarsgaard and Jennifer Carpenter. The book deal is a homecoming for Zahler; Silverman made his first major studio deal when he bought the 2007 Black List script The Brigands Of Rattleborge at Warner Bros. That script moved over to Red Granite with Park Chan-wook directing. Mean Business is Zahler’s third novel.
Foxx is repped by CAA, and he, DiCaprio and Appian Way are repped by LBI Entertainment.