It doesn’t get much more hardboiled than Mickey Spillane‘s Mike Hammer. The private investigator who first appeared in the author’s book “I, The Jury” embodies all the characteristics that would inspire a generation of burly brusiers who take the law into to their own hands. A war veteran, Hammer doesn’t particularly care for more legal methods of handing out justice, letting his fists and gun do the talking instead, while his sexual appetite is spurred by his secretary Velda. Almost from the start, Hollywood came calling for the character.
The ’50s saw three movies (“I, The Jury,” “My Gun Is Quick” and most well known “Kiss Me Deadly“) adapted from Spillane’s work, a TV pilot by Blake Edwards and finally, a full series with Darrin McGavin playing the iconic character. And after Spillane himself took on the character in “The Girl Hunters,” things slowed down until the ’80s and ’90s when Stacy Keach embraced the Hammer mantle in a couple of TV series and movies. But you can’t keep Mike Hammer down for song.
Warner Bros. has picked up the film rights to the series of novels featuring the character, with Thunder Road and Film 360 producing. Meetings are already taken place with potential screenwriters, though no decision has been made yet whether to keep Hammer in period or bring him into the present day (we vote for the former, otherwise he’s just another Jack Reacher). Until then, check out Spillane playing Hammer in “The Girl Hunters” below and let us know who you think would do the character justice on the big screen. [Deadline]