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Ron Howard Tackles ‘The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair,’ Jackie Earle Haley Preps Directorial Debut ‘Criminal Activities’

Ron Howard Tackles ‘The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair,’ Jackie Earle Haley Preps Directorial Debut ‘Criminal Activities’

Does the name Harry Quebert ring a bell? If you’re in Europe, it’s very likely: “The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair,” a murder mystery novel written by Swiss author Joël Dicker, has become a publishing phenomenon, selling two million copies, landing just behind “Fifty Shades of Grey” on France’s bestseller charts, and winning the prestigious Grand Prix du Roman to boot. Stateside audiences can get a sense of the hype soon though, both because the book’s due out here next month, and also because of Ron Howard’s love of adaptations.

Deadline reports Howard, his Imagine Entertainment producing partner Brian Grazer, and Warner Bros. have attached themselves to the project with Howard also set to direct. Following a young acclaimed novelist who questions his American literary mentor after a 15-year-old girl is found dead in the man’s backyard, the adaptation hasn’t a cast to name quite yet. But considering the high-profile status of the property, expect one to come quick.

Until then, Howard is in post-production on another adaptation, the Nathaniel Philbrick tale “Heart of the Sea,” led by his his “Rush” star Chris Hemsworth; he’s also prepping “Inferno,” the third Robert Langdon film with Tom Hanks following “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels and Demons.” However, in a case away from that packed slate of big-budget studio yarns, actor Jackie Earle Haley is set to start production on his indie directorial debut.

Coming off a continual string of high-profile roles since his turn in 2006’s “Little Children,” Haley has decided to helm “Criminal Activities,” a crime drama starring John Travolta, Michael Pitt, Dan Stevens and Rebecca Da Costa. The film centers around a group of four men who gather for an ex-classmate’s funeral, end up pursuing a bit of supposedly solid inside stock info, and end up penniless and in debt to the mob. Sounds like a tightly wound thriller if Haley applies a firm handle on the material, but we’re eager to see either way what the “Watchmen” actor comes up with, especially with that cast. Filming starts in Cleveland at the start of June. [Deadline]

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