His first novel Go (1999), a travel thriller about backpackers, was written in a village in the Himalayas. His second novel, Bad Traffic (2008), is a crime thriller about people smugglers, featuring Chinese policeman Inspector Jian.
Here Lewis dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, Border Run:
If Border Run was to be filmed, it would be a contained thriller - all the action takes place over a single day, in (pretty much) one location - the remote forest that lies on the border between Burma and China. As well as bringing to life some dramatic talky scenes, the actors would be required to do a lot of tricky physical work - jumping over waterfalls, fighting with knives, and hunting one another with homemade crossbows.Learn more about the book and author at Simon Lewis' website and blog.
For my lead, naive young British backpacker Will, I would want Robert Sheehan. I was lucky enough to watch him play another part I wrote for him - that of a grieving pickpocket in the TV drama Dip - and I think he is a superb actor. He brings a mesmerising mix of angst and strength to the role. It helps that he's beautiful too, in a soulful way.
I think it is a challenging part: over the course of one day he has to turn from one of life's natural witnesses - rather self conscious, hiding behind his camera - into a ruthless hunter who must drop the trappings of civilisation and turn on his best friend, in order to do what he thinks is right.
For the second backpacker, Jake, I would cast Dominic Cooper - sportier and more extrovert, with more classical good looks. Something more of a jack- the-lad quality about him. Again, his role is a tough one: he has to be stripped of his conceited confidence and descend into paranoia and desperation.
The third character - the seedy middle aged smuggler who acts as their guide - is psychopathic, middle aged and American - so would have to be played by whoever the new Dennis Hopper is - perhaps Nicolas Cage. Certainly a character actor who can bring some intensity and danger to the part. As the guide, he runs rings around his young charges, being icy, manipulative and fast talking - and, ultimately, unhinged and pretty scary. For an actor, it's probably the best role; he gets a good death scene too...
The Page 69 Test: Bad Traffic.
The Page 69 Test: Border Run.