Well this makes a certain kind of sense: Dennis Lehane, the Boston crime writer whose novels “Gone Baby Gone,” “Mystic River,” and “Shutter Island” have been successfully adapted into films (and whose sprawling 2012 historical novel “Live by Night” is about to be adapted by Ben Affleck), will now be the one adapting material, as he has been tasked with Americanizing the French crime thriller “A Prophet” for producers Neil H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe (via Variety). The original film was about a Muslim kid who becomes a crime lord in prison. But replacing “Muslim” with “Boston” should be easy enough.
While Lehane is best known as a crime novelist, he has done his fair share of writing for the screen. He was one of the elite team of crime novelists who also wrote episodes of “The Wire,” contributing to the show’s third, fourth and fifth seasons, and recently joined the staff of “Boardwalk Empire” as an executive producer (he co-wrote this season’s second episode), both for HBO.
Lehane has also signed on to write “Travis McGee” for Fox and Leonardo DiCaprio, based on the John D. MacDonald mystery novel “The Long Deep Good-by,” as a potential franchise started for the studio (McGee is a “salvage consultant” and the star of 21 novels). DiCaprio starred in “Shutter Island” and is producing “Live By Night.” Lehane also wrote “Silk Road,” about the online marketplace for illegal drugs (based on an article by Joshua Davis) and “Animal Rescue” (based on a short story of his), starring Tom Hardy, for Fox.
In other words: homeboy is busy. And while an American remake of “A Prophet” seems wholly unnecessary, if we have to have it, it might as well be written by someone as talented and earnest as Lehane, who as a grip on American crime fiction, in all its forms, like few authors out there. Consider us cautiously optimistic.