Gideon’s Sword is a 12-part book series by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child about a hero who has the ability to convince people of anything. The first part is out in book stores in February 2011, but clearly someone thinks it is good enough material to want to get cracking with the film rights straight away.
The hero in question will use his powers to try to free his falsely-accused father, who has been imprisoned by the NSA. Presumably that will be more of a challenge than simply saying to the guards, “this is not the man you are looking for, you want to let him go”, otherwise how do you fill 12 volumes? As Heatvision surmise, maybe the hero will need to save the world as well.
Apparently the aim is to kick-start a Bourne-style franchise (although how many times have we heard that in recent years?) which will enable Bay to combine high-octane action set-pieces with lower key character work. Taylor showed a deft hand for characterisation with his script for Changing Lanes, so that element should suit him well. Whether he can write action sequences as deftly, we shall see.
Taylor also offers an interesting insight into the challenges for a screenwriter in terms of making a living and operating within the Hollywood machine. he has a Japan-set legal thriller stuck in development limbo at Universal and says:-
“My responsibility as a writer is to figure out how to take my skill set and adapt it to the kinds of movies studios want to make today. That Japan movie is hard to make right now. So I’m looking for these projects that have the character-driven, juicy story line that I like to write but have a reasonable chance of moving forward.”
Taylor added that to really make the best of working in Hollywood writers need to have two types of project in parallel. The first would be “assignments” where you are employed to do a writing job on a project put together by the studios and the second would be trying to put together projects with producers and financiers that are perhaps outside of the studio mainstream.
Taylor is trying just that approach, by teaming up with the producer of Law Abiding Citizen to try to get a financing deal on a thriller he has written called “Black Creek”. Obviously we wish him every success and we will bring you more on the development of “Gideon’s Sword” as it moves forward.