NEW YORK — After engineering one of the biggest book deals in recent memory to acquire the screen rights to the 1981 German novel “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer,” Constantin Film will develop the project as a directing vehicle for Ridley Scott.
“Edward Scissorhands” scribe Caroline Thompson will write the script.
Bernd Eichinger led Constantin to victory in the bidding war when he agreed to pay $5 million against $10 million for Patrick Suskind’s novel about an 18th century Parisian driven by olfactory obsession to become a serial killer.
The book was a critical sensation when originally published, but the Munich-based writer long prevented the sale of film rights because he wanted only Stanley Kubrick to direct it. After the helmer died, the book became available. A swarm of suitors massed, with attachments from such helmers as Scott, Martin Scorsese and Tim Burton. Eichinger made the deal in January without any creative attachments.
Constantin has since been trying to determine how to proceed. At first, there was a possibility that Eichinger would write the screenplay as personal passion project. But those same directors still wanted to be involved, along with others like Jean-Jacques Annaud, Shekhar Kapur and Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Eichinger and Scott have agreed to develop “Perfume” together, along with screenwriter Thompson, with the “Gladiator” helmer to direct it if all goes well.
Scott comes aboard after taking a bite out of the box office with “Hannibal.” The helmer, who just completed the military ensemble drama “Black Hawk Down,” confirmed those plans, while cautioning he would not be formally attached at this preliminary stage.
Thompson is repped by ICM.