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‘Downton Abbey’ Director Andy Goddard Heads For the Big Screen With Patricia Highsmith’s ‘The Blunderer’

Written by on February 24, 2013 

In a time when books are optioned before they’re even published, it’s refreshing to see that the industry can still dust off some long-shelved texts. Nearly six decades after Patricia Highsmith published her psychological thriller The Blunderer, the book is being adapted, and already has a director. Better late than never, I guess.

Deadline reported that British television director Andy Goddard – who recently helmed Downton Abbey’s shocking third season finale – is attached to the project, and will direct off a script by Susan Boyd. Boyd optioned the work with her husband, writer William Boyd, who is executive producing. The Blunderer is one of many Highsmith works to get the feature film treatment, ever since Alfred Hitchcock gave life to her first novel, Strangers On A Train, in 1951. More recently, her book The Talented Mr. Ripley was crafted into a taut thriller starring Matt Damon and Gwyneth Paltrow.

Published in 1953, The Blunderer follows Walter Stackhouse, a suburban husband who, according to the Amazon description, “plots his wife’s demise in fantasies gruesome and eerily serene.”  It was Highsmith’s third novel, and is considered one of her best.

Independent film producers Ted Hope (21 Grams) and Christine Vachon (Boys Don’t Cry) will also produce the project, which is being back by Sierra Pictures.

Have you read The Blunderer? Do you think it can be adapted for a modern audience?

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