Liam Neeson has attached himself to the spec “Marlowe” to play the iconic Raymond Chandler character Philip Marlowe. “The Departed” scribe William Monahan penned the script with Nickel City Pictures and Gary Levinsohn producing.
Based on the book “The Black-Eyed Blonde” by Benjamin Black, the story follows the tough as nails private detective the early 1950s where Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. That is until a beautiful blonde client comes in and asks Marlowe to find her ex-lover. He soon comes to find out that the ex-lover’s disappearance is just a part of bigger mystery and soon has Marlowe wrapped up with one of the more powerful families in Bay Cities who are willing to go to any length’s to protect their fortune.
“The book by Benjamin Black was a pleasure to adapt, and with Marlowe there’s no chance of even being asked to do it left-handed,” Monahan said. “You have to do Chandler justice, carry a very particular flame, or stay home.”
Marlowe has been one of Hollywood’s favorite tough guys, portrayed nearly a dozen times most famously by Humphrey Bogart in the Howard Hawks thriller “The Big Sleep.” Other actors to tackle the role included Eliot Gould in Robert Altman’s “The Long Good-Bye” and most recently by Robert Mitchum in a remake of “The Big Sleep” in 1978.
Neeson’s history playing tough, menacing characters hopes to draw interest from the major studios given his success rate in similar roles. An auction should be on the horizon soon.
“It’s hard to tell who has the more of a lion’s heart and soul, Philip Marlowe or Liam Neeson. I hope I’ve done the both of them and a picture I could not anticipate more some service,” Monahan said.
Monahan won an Oscar for his work on “The Departed” and has since worked on films with similar tones, including “The Gambler” and “Edge of Darkness.” Monahan’s new production company 63Ltd is under a first-look deal with Paramount Pictures. He is also writing “Evel Knievel.”
Neeson can be seen next in the spy thriller “Felt” as well as “The Commuter.” He also recently joined Viola Davis in Steve McQueen’s heist pic “Widows.” Neeson is repped by CAA, ARG and Stankevich Law. Monahan is repped by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Offer, Weber & Dern.