Bell Media has announced that it has begun early development on three unique projects, based on the work of some of Canada’s most respected and best-selling authors. Bell Media has optioned the television rights on two novel series, one written by William Deverell and the other, Giles Blunt, two of Canada’s foremost award-winning mystery writers. In addition, Bell Media and Shaftesbury are in development on an adaptation of Old City Hall, written by acclaimed criminal lawyer-turned-author, Robert Rotenberg.
“Our acquisition of these options is a great opportunity for Bell Media,” said Corrie Coe, Senior Vice-President, Independent Production, Bell Media. “A diverse mix of stories, these projects exemplify our commitment to developing great Canadian programming. And we are equally delighted to be working with terrific Canadian screenwriters to adapt these novels and bring them to the screen.”
The first project in development is based on a witty and intelligent crime series written by British Columbia-based writer William Deverell (Kill All The Judges, April Fool and Mind Games – McClelland & Stewart), the creator of the popular and long-running drama Street Legal, and the winner of the Dashiell Hammett Award for Literary Excellence in North America for Crime Writing. To date Deverell’s books have been translated into 14 languages selling more than one million copies worldwide. Deverell is described as “a master of the laugh-out-loud crime novel” by the Vancouver Sun. Deverell’s series of novels feature lawyer Arthur Beauchamp defending his clients in taut urban courtroom dramas while trying to balance his personal and home life in a Gulf Island community full of eccentric and complex characters. Renowned Canadian screenwriter Andrew Wreggitt (One Dead Indian, Shades of Black and Mayerthorpe) has been attached to the project to adapt Deverell’s work for television.
The second project in development is based on a chilling crime series penned by Toronto author Giles Blunt, focusing on his main character Det. John Cardinal. Winner of Britain’s Silver Dagger Award for Fiction, the New York Times describes Blunt’s work as “forceful…surprising” while the Los Angeles Times describes his work as “riveting [and] relentless”. Blunt’s first storyline delves into the mind of a serial killer and the tormented police officer assigned to the case – a story for those who love to be entertained with one eye open. Giles Blunt (Crime Machine, Black Fly Season and Forty Words for Sorrow – Random House Canada) will adapt his own material for television.
Additionally, in partnership with Shaftesbury, Bell Media is in development on a project based on Toronto native Robert Rotenberg’s acclaimed first novel Old City Hall (Simon & Schuster). “Clever, complex and filled with an engaging cast of characters, Old City Hall captures the vibrancy and soul of Toronto,” said Kathy Reichs, author of the Bones series of novels. Published in March 2009 and named a “hard-boiled classic” by The Globe and Mail and “masterful debut” by Maclean’s, Old City Hall uncovers the complexities and human drama of the criminal justice system when a popular radio host is arrested for the murder of his wife in a seemingly open-and-shut case. An international bestseller, Old City Hall has been sold in 11 countries and translated into nine languages. Shaftesbury is currently in negotiations with a top-Canadian screenwriter to pen the script. Rotenberg’s second novel, The Guilty Plea, was released in May 2011 and currently sits on The Globe and Mail’s bestsellers list.