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Frank Miller takes on ‘Trouble’

Clive Owen to star in Chandler adaptation

Universal Pictures and Strike Entertainment have set Frank Miller to adapt the Raymond Chandler novella “Trouble Is My Business” as a star vehicle for Clive Owen.

Strike partners Marc Abraham and Eric Newman are producing; Owen and Phil Clymer exec produce.

“Sin City” was Miller’s first collaboration with Owen. “Trouble Is My Business” was chosen partly because it provides the actor with a similar chance to frame the narrative with a compelling voiceover, using Chandler’s hardboiled prose as hard-drinking private eye Philip Marlowe cracks cases, busts heads and romances femme fatales in 1940s Los Angeles.

While many of Chandler’s novels have been turned into films, “Trouble Is My Business” is virgin territory.

Frank Miller knows more about noir than anyone I have ever met, and clearly the writing of Raymond Chandler has been an enormous influence on his life and his work,” Owen said. “Miller adapting Chandler seemed like a perfect match.”

Looking to set up another project with Owen after “Children of Men,” Strike and Universal made an option deal last winter for Chandler’s Philip Marlowe mysteries with Clymer’s U.K.-based Chorion, which controlled the rights (Daily Variety, Jan. 23). They just recently decided on which title would kick off a potential series of films.

Deal comes as Miller takes a more active hand in writing and directing films. His graphic novel “300” was turned into a hit movie by Zack Snyder, and his graphic novel “Ronin” is being adapted as a directing vehicle for “Stomp the Yard” helmer Sylvain White. Miller is writing to direct a film based on Will Eisner graphic novel “The Spirit.” Miller is working on a “Sin City” sequel he’ll co-direct once again with Robert Rodriguez.

Owen, who’ll next be seen starring with Cate Blanchett in “The Golden Age” for Universal, and in the New Line action film “Shoot-‘Em-Up,” is prepping the Tom Tykwer-directed “The International” for Columbia Pictures.

Strike is in pre-production on “The Creature From the Black Lagoon,” a Breck Eisner-directed remake that Abraham and Newman are producing with Gary Ross, who wrote the script for Universal.

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