The Twenty-Year Death, the acclaimed debut novel by Ariel S. Winter; is headed to the small screen. FremantleMedia North America is shopping a drama series adaptation of the book, with Richard Price (The Wire) set to write and Scott Frank (A Walk Among The Tombstones) set to produce.
The Twenty-Year Death is in the Hard Case Crime genre that involves capturing the feel of pulp classics without slavish imitation. It consists of three linked novels written in the styles of Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson that, taken together, tell a single epic story about Shem Rosenkrant, an author whose life is shattered when violence and tragedy consume the people closest to him. Rosenkrantz is first encountered in France in 1931, married to a beautiful woman with connections to a killer hunted by an Inspector Maigret-like detective. Ten years later, he and his wife are in Southern California—she now a movie star, he a philandering author, with their travails watched by a Philip Marlowe-style private eye. The final section is set in 1951 in what can only be described as Jim Thompson’s Despairsville, USA. The same characters run throughout the 20 year span — in varying degrees of starring and supporting roles. And there is a series of murders that are connected by blood, by fate, by the compelling forces as past meets present.
Frank and Price executive produce with FMNA’s Craig Cegielski, Stefanie Berk and Thom Beers as well as Peter Gethers and Jeff Levine of Random House, the TV arm of the publishing arm behind the book. The project is being eyed for both straight-to-series model and traditional development for broadcast or cable.
UTA-repped Price recently signed on to write a U.S. crime drama series adaptation of BBC’s limited series Inside Men for Howard Gordon‘s Teakwood Lane. He also has a New York-set criminal drama at Fox with penalty and wrote the upcoming HBO limited series Criminal Justice, loosely inspired by the BBC series.