Saville Productions has acquired the bestselling thriller novels The King Of Swords and Mr Clarinet by Nick Stone, with plans to develop them as a dramatic series for cable or digital platforms.
Set in Miami during the city’s cocaine cowboys heyday of the 80s and 90s, the novels follow ex-Miami cop and P.I. Max Mingus, navigating the complexities of international corruption and crime. Mr. Clarinet sees Mingus searching for a missing 3-year-old boy in Haiti only to come up against a notorious criminal he put away nearly 20 years earlier. King Of Swords serves as a prequel, taking place during Mingus’ 1980s police detective days as he and his partner investigate a bizarre murder in a primate park.
The deal comes as part of Saville’s transition over the last few years from a strictly commercial advertising production outfit to a hybrid operation focused mainly on creative. That transition has been a natural evolution, as Saville already has several high profile advertising campaigns from prominent directors under its belt, including Adidas’ 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign “All In Or Nothing” (directed by Fernando Meirelles), and the texting safety campaign for AT&T, “From One Second to the Next” (directed by Werner Herzog).
However, in the era of DVR and ala carte viewing, the nature of advertising on television itself is in flux, with advertisers experimenting with different ways of reaching audiences who now can skip commercials outright. Greater product placement in shows, viral marketing and the like are all part of that process, and as Saville head Rupert Maconick told Deadline, the future may see a return to sponsored television common decades ago. “Think Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom,” he says, though perhaps on a larger scale. What kind of arrangement will be part of the development of Mr. Clarinet and The King Of Swords remains to be seen, though the eventual home of the series may play a role.
The deal was negotiated by Jane Gregory of Gregory & Company in London and her LA-based co-agent Alan Nevins of Renaissance Literary & Talent on Nick Stone’s behalf, and by Eric Feig on behalf of Saville Productions. Saville is currently in talks with directors to bring the project forward.