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‘Savages’ Author Don Winslow’s ‘California Fire and Life’ Optioned

Written by on July 18, 2012 

While Savages was not a big hit with the critics or Universal’s accountants, this a) probably says more about Oliver Stone‘s current place in the world of mainstream filmmaking, and b) clearly, as evidenced here, had no real effect on Don Winslow as a big commodity. (It’s not as though movement stopped on Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Satori when that other movie lost a few million, for God’s sake.)

His attempt at Hollywood indoctrination will continue with California Fire and Life, a 2007 novel that, according to Deadline, is being picked up by Hutch Parker Entertainment and Shane Salerno, the latter of whom was an executive producer and co-writer on Savages. The book — and, I guess, the film upon which it’ll eventually be based — follows Jack Wade, a former Orange County cop whose past mistakes have exempted him from the line of duty — but whose unparalleled knowledge of fire makes him a valuable arson investigator. Despite his simple motto of “don’t get involved,” a case involving the charred home of a millionaire’s home — as well as the charred corpse of the man’s wife — sees Wade becoming immersed in one of Los Angeles’ seedier sides as he tries to find the truth behind this event.

It’s a real potboiler, essentially, and that’s just the kind of story with which Winslow‘s made a name for himself. So long as California can prove to be a bigger smash than Savages — something the right combination of cast and craftsmen ought to make a not-so-strenuous task, I’d think — it’s not so crazy to think Don Winslow might, with the right timing, become a big figure on studio lots.

Hutch Parker Entertainment have a first-look deal with 20th Century Fox, thus making it likely they’ll bring us California Life and Fire when the proper time comes.

Have you read Winslow’s original book? If so, does it have the right ingredients for a strong thriller?

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