The division of the ViacomCBS-owned studio, run by Jeremy Kramer, is eyeing lower budgets for the contemporary noir thrillers and specifically looking for diverse and perhaps first-time writers and directors to create the world.
Hurwitz is the bestselling author of “Orphan X” and will produce the films alongside Emmy winner Scott Frank, producer of Netflix’s “The Queen’s Gambit.” The latter brought the books to the studio. While not connected by a central character, Hurwitz’s novels are among the most praised of the pot-boiler genre — usually invoking heinous crimes or geopolitical intrigue. The film adaptations are said to be connected thematically.
Full titles being optioned include “Do No Harm,” “The Crime Writer,” “Trust No One,” “They’re Watching,” “You’re Next,” “The Survivor,” “Tell No Lies” and “Don’t Look Back.” Clarence Hammond and Nathan Samdahl will oversee the projects for Paramount Players.
Hurwitz said there was “no talent I admire more than Scott Frank and no one I’d be happier to partner with on the adaptations of these books. I’m grateful to Paramount Players for giving us this opportunity. These thrillers are about ordinary men and women finding extraordinary strength within themselves and our goal is to connect these stories with screenwriters who are early in their own journey to the exceptional.”
Discussing the current climate for aspiring screenwriters, Hurwitz added that “it’s so goddamned hard to break into screenwriting today and Scott and I are excited at the prospect of finding new voices to collaborate with and support.”
Hurwitz has written 22 books and currently serves as the co-president of International Thriller Writers. His screenwriting credits include the Naomi Watts drama “The Book of Henry” and Jason Momoa’s Netflix thriller “Sweet Girl.” In television, he has contributed to shows including “Queen of the South” and the ABC sci-fi series “V.” He has also authored DC and Marvel comics, and contributes to publications including The Wall Street Journal and The Guardian.
He is represented by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company, Lisa Erbach Vance of Aaron M. Priest Literary Agency, and Stephen Breimer of Brecheen Feldman Breimer Silver & Thompson.