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Peter James' buried-alive thriller Dead Simple coming to big screen with Hugh Bonneville

01.27.2012by: Eric Walkuski

I'm not familiar with Peter James, the UK-based crime author, although apparently he's tremendously popular; his books have evidently sold over 10 million copies to date worldwide and have been translated into 34 different languages. Most of that popularity stems from his "Grace" novels, a seven-book series of books featuring Detective Roy Grace and the various criminal cases he becomes involved in.

One of the Grace novels, a cool-sounding thriller called DEAD SIMPLE, is looking for all the world like it's about to head to the big screen... with James captaining the ship and British thesp Hugh Bonneville ("Downton Abbey") taking on the lead role of Detective Grace.

First, here's the DEAD SIMPLE set-up:

Michael Harrison had it all: good looks, charm, natural leadership, a wicked sense of humor, and now, Ashley, his fiancée. While out celebrating with a group of friends a few nights before the wedding, Michael suddenly and unexpectedly finds himself enclosed in a coffin equipped only with a flashlight, a dirty magazine, a walkie-talkie, and a tiny breathing tube. It's all in good fun — payback for the grief his mates suffered due to his own penchant for tomfoolery — that is until the four are killed in a drunk driving accident just moments after leaving Michael completely alone and buried alive.

Detective Superintendent Grace—himself dealing with the pain of losing his wife—is brought on to the case when Ashley reports Michael missing. Suspicions are raised when Michael's only friend not at the bachelor party refuses to cooperate, and Ashley's faithfulness—not to mention her increasingly mysterious past—are suddenly thrown in to question. As Superintendent Grace soon discovers, one man's disaster is another man's fortune.

James is currently in the process of putting the money for the feature together himself, while Swiss TV scribe Daniel Eckhart is adapting the screenplay. James and his partners will be shopping the project at the Berlin Film Festival, where they hope to acquire substantial interest from German and French companies, as James' work is majorly successful in those countries.

We'll keep you in the loop as more info comes in.


Hugh Bonneville's "Downton Abbey" co-star Jessica Brown Findlay

Extra Tidbit: Roman Polanski was at one time circling DEAD SIMPLE.
Source: Screen Daily

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