Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Humphrey Hawksley's "Security Breach"

Humphrey Hawksley's latest novel Security Breach has been acclaimed as the international thriller of the new Cold War.

Here he develops some ideas for its cinematic adaptation:
Security Breach is a story of high-action and complex relationships – all of it revolving around the smart, vulnerable, kick-ass heroine, Kat Polinski.

I would like to develop the filmic style around the The Washington Post’s description of the book -- Die Hard meets 1984.

One idea would be to introduce two highly talented, but relatively unknown action actors into the lead roles, such as Livvy Scott or Emily Beecham as Kat, and James Layton as the superb, monosyllabic moral beacon of Mike Luxton. Alternatively, I would try to get Liv Tyler and Matt Damon for the same roles.

I have in mind George Clooney or Nicolas Cage, for Kat’s controller, Bill Cage; Bill Nighy for the veteran British spymaster Stephen Cranley; Frank Langella for Kat’s antagonistic family friend, Nate Sayer; and Ewan McGregor as her thoughtful, but dithering brother.

Uma Thurman would be perfect to play Yulya Gracheva, the epitome of the modern most evil villain; Meryl Streep as Kat’s god-mother, Nancy; and Francesca Martinez as the feisty Liz Luxton.

The movie is set in a surveillance society of the near future with scenes that move between Washington D.C., London, the English coastal country-side and the desolate land-scape of oil-rich Kazakhstan.

In London, the screen-play, cinematography and direction would build up an atmosphere of the most security-intense city in the world. Through the eyes of Kat Polinski, we would come face to face with a daily life of high-tech surveillance that George Orwell could not have conceived when he wrote 1984.

The actions starts as the world is preparing for the signing of Project Peace, a treaty between Russia, China and the United States. It claims to be a formula to end terror and guarantee global energy supplies. But like with the Iraq war and the global financial markets, it is not as we are told it is.

The movie would show much of our society as it is today, but infiltrated by growing trends that worry so many of us: the post Nine Eleven tightening of security, imprisonment without trial; power in the hands of international business consortia who have governments in their pockets; and a growing underclass whose opinion is forged through clever manipulation of the media.

Filming would be split between London and the Suffolk coast, where much of the action takes place, with the rest possibly being done in Thailand which now has excellent crews and post production sound stages on which the dramatic escape scenes from Kazakhstan would be shot.

With all that to play with, I can think of no better director than Vernon Layton, and if he is unwilling, I would head for the Oscar-winning writer/director, Paul Haggis of Crash.
Visit Humphrey Hawksley's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The History Book.

--Marshal Zeringue