Thora Birch will direct a film adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s Mr. Paradise, Deadline reports.
Leonard’s novel, published in 2004 by Morrow/HarperCollins, tells the story of a model who is the paid companion of an octogenarian lawyer and survives a double murder at his mansion. A critic for Kirkus wrote that Leonard “crowds his canvas with the survivors and interested parties to another massacre across town and brings the two crimes to a slow boil—definitely a cool tactic, but one that entangles him with lowlifes who are a lot less interesting than his romantic leads.”
Birch, known as an actor for her roles in Patriot Games, Hocus Pocus, and Ghost World, directed the television movie The Gabby Petito Story last year.
Many of Leonard’s novels have been adapted as films. Quentin Tarantino’s 1997 film, Jackie Brown, was based on the author’s Rum Punch, and the movie adaptations of Leonard’s Out of Sight and Get Shorty were box office hits.
Birch praised the late author, saying, “I find his world of bumbling criminal characters, snappy dialogue, and constant pursuit of sex and status endlessly entertaining. Mr. Paradise provides an ideal new lens to view Leonard through the eyes of our intriguing female protagonist as she navigates between the Detroit underworld and a persistent police investigator.”
Michael Schaub, a journalist and regular contributor to NPR, lives near Austin, Texas.