Warners Seizes "Occupied City"

7/18/2010 Posted by Admin

Warners Seizes "Occupied City"

Movie News

By our guest blogger, Matt Jussim

David Peace’s Japanese crime thriller novel “Occupied City” will get the Hollywood treatment by way of Warner Bros. sometime in the near future.

According to Risky Biz, the company picked up the film rights to the novel, which is the second of a trilogy by Pearce set during the U.S. military occupation of Japan.

The story is a "Rashomon"-esque tale depicting the shifting perspectives of people involved in the real life Teikoku Bank incident of 1948.

That incident involved sixteen employees of a Tokyo bank being subjected to cyanide poisoning given to them by a man claiming to be an epidemiologist sent by U.S. occupation forces to inoculate the employees against dysentery.

When all were incapacitated, the man stole all the money he could find. Ten of the victims died at the scene, two died later in hospital. A man named Hirasawa Sadamichi was ultimately convicted of the murders and died over three decades later in prison, but is widely believed to have been innocent.

Peace suggests that the real murderer was connected with an underground biological weapons unit, and he uses multiple narrators living and dead, Japanese, American and Russian in a “Rashomon”-style retelling of those events.

Peace is no stranger to getting his books optioned and he has been on a bit of a Hollywood tear lately. His gritty “Red Riding Quartet” of novels was spun into a trio of TV films last year while Steve Zaillian is currently writing a new adaptation of the “Red Riding” novels for producer Ridley Scott and Columbia Pictures.

Also, scribe Peter Morgan adapted Peace’s 2006 soccer-based novel “The Damned Utd” into a film that Sony Pictures Classics released last fall, “The Damned United.”

“City” is the second in a planned trilogy of novels. The first, “Tokyo Year Zero,” was published in 2007, and the third is still in the works.

I think that the subject matter of this story is just utterly fascinating, and it is the perfect formula for a film. The “Rashomon” style of it is well placed, and if this project is handled the right way, it could end up being an awards contender sometime in the future.

Look for more on this project as things develop.

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