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Matt Wheeler Scribing Adaptation of Thomas Perry’s ‘The Informant’ for Sony

Written by on February 2, 2012 

Deadline reports that Sony has signed on Matt Wheeler to adapt Thomas Perry‘s crime novel The Informant, which is the third in his Butcher’s Boy series. This will be Wheeler‘s first professional writing gig, having recently graduated from UCLA’s MFA Screenwriting program as both a BAFTA scholar and a Samuel Goldwyn award winner. That sounds impressive; one would figure he’d get something other than a crime novel adaptation to kick off his career with, but more power to him.

According to the article, the plot revolves around a contract killer and a female government official, both of whom go after the mafia for different reasons (he wants to avenge the death of his father, she simply wants to dismantle their ranks). Eventually, the two learn that they are going after the same target, and a cat and mouse game begins. The novel’s synopsis (via Barnes&Noble) goes into a bit more detail:

In Thomas Perry’s Edgar-winning debut The Butcher’s Boy, a professional killer betrayed by the Mafia leaves countless mobsters dead and then disappears. Justice Department official Elizabeth Waring is the only one who believes he ever existed. Many years later, the Butcher’s Boy finds his peaceful life threatened when a Mafia hit team finally catches up with him. He knows they won’t stop coming and decides to take the fight to their door.

Soon Waring, now high up in the Organized Crime Division of the Justice Department, receives a surprise latenight visit from the Butcher’s Boy. Knowing she keeps track of the Mafia, he asks her whom his attackers worked for, offering information that will help her crack an unsolved murder in return. So begins a new assault on organized crime and an uneasy alliance between opposite sides of the law. As the Butcher’s Boy works his way ever closer to his quarry in an effort to protect his new way of life, Waring is in a race against time, either to convince him to become a protected informant—or to take him out of commission for good.

Well I’ll say this: The Informant certainly does sound like the type of movie Hollywood loves to make, and one a good chunk of people will go to. But I’m just wondering how the adaptation will go; since it’s the third in a series and the other two haven’t been adapted, does The Informant just smash together the first two books’ story, be it into a montage or exposition-heavy dialogue scene? Or does it just ignore it altogether and go for the “adaptation in name only” route? The plot given by Deadline is vague enough that either scenario could be the case. Regardless, I doubt any wheels will be reinvented by The Informant; if anything, it’ll just confuse people into thinking it’s a remake of the 2009 Steven Soderbergh comedy. The four people who actually saw that, I mean.

Have you read the Butcher’s Boy series? Should Sony do all three novels, or is Informant the best one to start with?


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