Monday, July 12, 2010

Warner Bros. Options Film Rights to Occupied City by David Peace

Occupied City by David Peace
More information about the book

The Risky Business blog of The Hollywood Reporter is reporting that Warner Bros. has optioned the film rights to the crime novel Occupied City by David Peace. Set in 1948 Tokyo, Occupied City is the second in Peace's planned trilogy of novels based on true crimes committed in Japan.

“I am thrilled that at a time when studios are not investing in literary properties Warner Bros. is willing to invest in interesting material,” producer Polly Johnsen says. “David is an excellent writer, and this story is unlike anything that has been told before.”

We agree. In our review of Occupied City, we said "Far more of a literary novel than a mystery, some might be tempted to call Occupied City a tour de force based on its unusual approach to storytelling." Each of the 12 "candles", or chapters, is told -- sometimes in a most unusual manner -- from the perspective of a different character associated with the crime.

Peace is also the author of the Red Riding Quartet thrillers, which was adapted into a three-part mini-series that aired in the UK and was screened by IFC in the US. A new film adaptation is also in the works.

About Occupied City (from the publisher): A fierce, exquisitely dark novel that plunges us into post–World War II Occupied Japan in a Rashomon-like retelling of a mass poisoning (based on an actual event), its aftermath, and the hidden wartime atrocities that led to the crime.

On January 26, 1948, a man identifying himself as a public health official arrives at a bank in Tokyo. There has been an outbreak of dysentery in the neighborhood, he explains, and he has been assigned by Occupation authorities to treat everyone who might have been exposed to the disease. Soon after drinking the medicine he administers, twelve employees are dead, four are unconscious, and the “official” has fled ...

Twelve voices tell the story of the murder from different perspectives. One of the victims speaks, for all the victims, from the grave. We read the increasingly mad notes of one of the case detectives, the desperate letters of an American occupier, the testimony of a traumatized survivor. We meet a journalist, a gangster-turned-businessman, an “occult detective,” a Soviet soldier, a well-known painter. Each voice enlarges and deepens the portrait of a city and a people making their way out of a war-induced hell.

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