EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has optioned the bestselling 1966 Ross MacDonald crime novel Black Money for Joel and Ethan Coen to write and potentially direct. The film will be produced by Joel Silver, who also will co-finance with Warner Bros via Silver Pictures Entertainment. Steve White will be executive producer. The novel focuses on MacDonald’s private eye protagonist Lew Archer. Hired by a spurned lover to expose the suave Frenchman who has run off with his client’s girlfriend, Archer follows a trail that leads to a deep conspiracy as the mysterious paramour is connected to a seven-year-old suicide and a ton of gambling debts.

Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Filmmakers: Joel Coen And Ethan Coen, "Inside Llewyn Davis"MacDonald died in 1983, and this is one of the prolific writer’s most famed novels.

Warner Bros’ Creative Development and Worldwide Production president Greg Silverman spearheaded this for the studio, and it’s as intriguing a match between auteurs and a beloved book, as was Paul Thomas Anderson when he helmed Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. The Coens have wrapped Hail Caesar! for Universal with an ensemble cast that includes George Clooney, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill.

Silver separately has The Nice Guys at Warner Bros for May release, with Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling starring, and he continues to develop Logan’s Run, the latest iteration of which has Simon Kinberg writing the script. The Coens are repped by UTA.