Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Simon Read's "In the Dark"

True-crime author Simon Read accepted the challenge of casting his latest book, In the Dark: The True Story of the Blackout Ripper, as a movie.

About the book:

While the Luftwaffe bombed London and its citizens fled underground, a killer emerged from the shadows to satisfy his inner darkness…

In February 1942, a woman was found strangled in a London air raid shelter. Chief Superintendent Frederick Cherrill, head of Scotland Yard's revolutionary fingerprint division, knew just how well the wartime blackout concealed crime. But this was a brutal, senseless killing with few clues, no apparent motive - and no sign of the terror to come.

He seemed so decent, cheerful and normal…

The nightly air raids had darkened London's neon dazzle but not its urge to live it up. With death a daily possibility, drinks and sex were everywhere. But one man had other urges. Over a five-day period, he murdered with a lightning-fast ferocity that stunned and baffled investigators. Dubbed "The Blackout Ripper," he left few clues in his bloody wake - until a slip-up revealed his true identity, and shocked a city that thought it had seen it all.

Here is author on the adaptation:
I must admit, I have long dreamed of seeing one of my books adapted for the Silver Screen. I’ve always thought In the Dark, the true story of Scotland Yard’s hunt for a Jack-the-Ripper-like serial killer in 1940s London, would make phenomenal movie fodder! While I was writing book, I did cast some actors in the role of the story’s various characters.

I first saw Daniel Craig in Layer Cake, long before he breathed new life into 007. There’s a subtle menace about him that I think would be ideal for the role of serial killer Frederick Cummins, who was unquestionably suave when it came to the ladies. Another top contender for the role would have to be Christian Bale, who is closer to Cummins in terms of both age and physical appearance. In the end, of course, I’d be happy if either one of these great actors tackled the role.

For Scotland Yard Chief Superintendent Fred Cherrill, I had Michael Caine in mind while writing the book. The man can do no wrong on screen. Whatever the role, he always delivers. Although Cherrill was born in a quaint English village, I picture him in my head as being Cockney in attitude — though I don’t know why. To that end, I think Caine would bring a personality that was both classy and street smart to the character. It’s for the same reason I think British television actor David Jason would also be great in the role. In the States, Jason is best known for his portrayal as Inspector Jack Frost in the A Touch of Frost series that ran on A&E. But if you’ve never seen him as the brilliant Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses, you’re truly missing out.

For famed pathologist Bernard Spilsbury, I’d have to go with Anthony Hopkins for the simple reason I can’t think of anyone else I’d want to play him. Now, if I got to handpick a director, I’d go with Michael Mann. With the exception of last year’s pointless Miami Vice, I’ve loved everything Mann has done. He never rushes a film. He takes the time to build both the story and the characters, and he imbues his pictures with a gritty realism. I think In the Dark would prosper in his hands.

So, if anyone in Hollywood is reading this and agrees with my choices, please feel free to contact me, or my film agent. Cheers!
Visit Simon Read's website and his blog, and read an excerpt from In the Dark.

The Page 69 Test: In the Dark.

--Marshal Zeringue