EXCLUSIVE: Nickel City Pictures has optioned rights to the critically acclaimed Silver Bear book series, which explores the visceral and psychological world behind a contract killer. The series was authored by accomplished screenwriter Derek Haas (3:10 to Yuma, Chicago Fire/Chicago PD). The story follows Columbus, the most respected and feared hitman in the criminal underworld, who the Russians call “a Silver Bear,” as well as the many intermediaries or “fences” that populate this world and facilitate assignments.

Frank Baldwin, who adapted the Norwegian thriller Hard Powder which just wrapped production for StudioCanal and stars Liam Neeson, will adapt the first novel in the series The Silver Bear.

Derek Haas
Brian To/REXShutterstocck

The book series seem ripe for franchise material. Since writing Silver Bear, Haas has since followed up with four other novels: Columbus, Dark Men, A Different Lie and The Way I Die, the latter of which will be released in April 2018.

“The books feature incredible storylines and we believe audiences worldwide will be fascinated by the many layers of the Columbus character,” said Nickel City’s Vishal Rungta. “We are confident that the underlying work by Derek, combined with Frank’s writing style and enthusiasm, will set the stage for a successful franchise with a strong first installment.”

Nickel City will produce The Silver Bear with Haas and Michael Garnett serving as executive producers. Endeavor Content is packaging the film. Production is being targeted for late 2018 or early 2019.

Silver Bear also now becomes part of the development slate for Nickel City and partner Telepool GmbH, a large film and television distributor in Germany. They joined together about a year ago and have been swift in building up their coffers. They now include nine projects currently in development: Marlowe (adapted by Bill Monahan), Hammer (written by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage) and The Gunsmith (written by Matt Duffett).

“I am thrilled that Nickel City Pictures is committed to bringing The Silver Bear to the big screen. They are fiercely passionate about the books and the character Columbus, and it’s amazing to hear them talk about him so reverentially,” said Haas. “I’ve lived with Columbus for a decade now, and I can’t wait to see what they have in store for him.”

Haas is repped by WME and Adam Kaller. Baldwin is repped by Syndicate Entertainment, Leverage Management and Stuart Rosenthal.