Helmer to direct adaptation of Thompson novel

Marc Rocco will direct an adaptation of Jim Thompson noir novel “The Killer Inside Me.”

Robert Weinbach wrote the script, and his Cyclone Prods. will produce with Chris Hanley’s Muse Film Prods.

Published in 1952, “The Killer Inside Me” concerns a deputy sheriff in a West Texas town whose kind Everyman demeanor masks his true dark self. He is slowly revealed as a psychotic killer.

Rocco (“Murder in the First”) said financing is being finalized for a fall start, subject to casting.

“I loved the idea of filming a beautiful small town and adding an antihero who is right out of the films of the 1970s,” Rocco said. “We will put him into a post-9/11 world, and one interesting layer to the script is how much technology has changed the definition of a small town.”

Rocco is mobilizing to direct “The Winter Hill Gang,” a drama he wrote with David Flowers about the largest gang war in American history, which started in Boston in 1961.

Project was set up several years ago at Paramount, with Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner producing with Marc Frydmann. Rocco is also teamed with Birtu Entertainment’s William MacDonald (“Rome”) and Vinne Viola on a TV series pilot adaptation of his film “Where the Day Takes You,” which Rocco co-wrote and directed in 1993.

Thompson books have been adapted into films including “The Grifters,” “The Getaway” and “After Dark, My Sweet.”

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