Random House opens ‘Case’

McDonald's tome is next project on pic slate

Random House Films has set the next project on its development slate, optioning Ross McDonald’s “The Galton Case” from publisher’s own backlist.

The 1959 book, a breakout for the mystery writer, features his hallmark character Lew Archer.

Venture prexy Peter Gethers acknowledged that the project would be tricky to update because present-day procedurals have made auds more accustomed to modern forms of crime-solving.

But he said he also believed philosophical and narrative elements in story could turn it into a hit akin to “L.A. Confidential” or even “A History of Violence,” given the story’s emphasis on long-buried secrets.

As with other RH Films projects, Gethers and Focus Features topper James Schamus will develop “Galton” jointly.

Gethers also noted that the project reflects a larger mission to choose from diverse genres and imprints at the country’s largest publisher. Other RH Films projects, which include the character-driven “Reservation Road,” politically inflected “Curveball” and Dean Koontz thriller “The Husband,” reflect the company’s diverse imprints, with the latest buy repping company’s deep backlist.

Gethers said he still hopes to develop a female-oriented project from the Random House catalog.

McDonald hasn’t had a major screen adaptation in several decades, but Gethers said the project could help spark a revival that will in turn help spur sales of Random House tomes.

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