Paul Greengrass Eyeing Adaptation of THE FEAR INDEX?

     August 25, 2011


Paul Greengrass needs to get a film going.  Not for him.  He’ll be fine.  For me.  I want to see a new film from him.  He’s been flirting with a variety of projects ever since Green Zone including Fantastic Voyage, Treasure Island, Cleopatra, The Deep Blue Good-By, and Rush.  It looked like the MLK assassination drama Memphis was going to be his next project but Universal got cold feet at the last minute.  From my understanding, it showed Martin Luther King Jr. as a real person instead of saint (I think showing his flaws does the man more credit than trying to gloss over his flaws).  Greengrass was then offered the Somali pirate drama Maersk Alabama starring Tom Hanks but the project seems to have stalled.

Now it looks like he may be circling an adaptation of Robert Harris’ novel The Fear Index.  Harris tells The Telegraph [via The Playlist] that Greengrass is on board to direct the Harris’ script, which is a thriller about an impending meltdown in the financial markets.  Timely!  Hit the jump for a synopsis of the novel and my thoughts on Greengrass potentially taking the gig.

Robert Harris’ adapted his own novel, The Ghost, into last year’s thriller The Ghost Writer.  The script was terrible.  The phrase “I’m/You’re way in over your head,” (or some variation thereof) is uttered at least four times in the opening twenty minutes.  The film succeeds because Roman Polanski is a brilliant director and thankfully, so is Greengrass.  Furthermore, Greengrass is known for using scripts as broad outlines and then finding the story in the editing room.  What Harris puts down on the page could be far removed from the final film.

Here’s the synopsis for The Fear Index:

A chilling contemporary thriller from Robert Harris set in the competitive world of high finance.

Dr Max Hoffman is a legend. A physicist once employed on the Large Hadron Collider, he now uses a revolutionary and highly secret system of computer algorithms to trade on the world’s financial markets. None of his rivals is sure how he does it, but somehow Hoffman’s hedge fund — built around the standard measure of market volatility: the VIX or “Fear Index” — generates astonishing returns for his investors.

Late one night, in his house beside Lake Geneva, an intruder disturbs Hoffman and his wife while they are asleep. This terrifying moment is the start of Robert Harris’s new novel — a story just as compelling and timely as his most recent contemporary thriller, The Ghost. Over the next 48 hours, as the markets edge towards another great crash, Hoffman’s world disintegrates. But who is trying to destroy him? [Amazon]


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