Like Jim Morrison, James Dean and Marilyn Monroe, late novelist Jim Thompson’s stock seems to keep rising.
Recently, Metropolitan Talent Agency’s literary division began repping the writer’s estate, which includes more than 20 books and unpublished short stories that could be heading for the big screen.
Metropolitan managed to peel that highly sought body of work from the William Morris Agency, which had been repping the author’s literary estate, when former WMA staffer Maryann Kelly ankled the agency for Metropolitan.
Thompson, known for such works as “The Grifters,””The Getaway” and “After Dark My Sweet,” all of which were made into films, died in 1977 at age 70. His gritty, hard-boiled novels captured the interest of readers in the U.S. and Europe — especially England and France, where he carries icon status.
In addition to the material that Metropolitan is peddling, several of Thompson’s works are either in development or in production for both the big and small screens.
A remake of Sam Peckinpah’s 1972 “The Getaway,” which originally starred Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw, is lensing with Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger in the starring roles. Tom Cruise will make his directorial debut on Thompson’s short story “The Frightening Frammis,” which will be an episode of Showtime’s “Fallen Angels” series.
Another novel, “South of Heaven,” is being developed by Barry Levinson and his Baltimore Pictures.
As for the available projects, some of the well-known tomes are “The Nothing Man,””Savage Night,””The Criminal,””The Golden Gizmo,””Texas by the Tail” and “Recoil.”
Asked about the plans for the remainder of Thompson’s estate, Metropolitan’s Kelly said, “We want to see American productions brought to the screen, with the quality that we saw in ‘The Grifters.’ He’s an icon in America, and he should have his stories made into films by Americans.”