Colin Callender (The White Queen) – Chairperson of the production company Playground – is to continue his relationship with both Starz and the BBC by co-producing The Kills. The project will be the TV adaptation of the critically acclaimed fiction book by Richard House, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2013.
The Kills caused quite a stir when it debuted last summer, due to its unusual take on the traditional narrative structure. The premise of the political thriller sees a British mercenary flee justice after stealing $50 million from an American reconstruction project in Iraq, with his efforts to evade capture sparking a global manhunt. The tale consists of 4 books, which were published separately in the UK, but as one volume in the US. Together, they form a non-linear approach to an epic story – at the heart of which lie complex and thorough characterisations. The individual books intersect as follows:
Book 1: ‘Sutler’ – Focuses on the central manhunt;
Book 2: ‘The Massive’ – A prequel to Sutler, re-telling the events that led to the mercenary being on the run;
Book 3: ‘The Kill’ – A seemingly unconnected novel about an American student being murdered in Italy;
Book 4: ‘The Hit’ – Continues the story that began in Book 1.
In perhaps the most ambitious literary device to have been used for years, the seemingly unconnected Book 3 is revealed to be a novel that the characters are reading in Book 1. It is adapted for film in Book 2, and in Book 4, one of the characters uses it for their own nefarious agenda.
Still in the earliest stages of development, the production team are currently seeking a writer to adapt the books for television. With the BBC, Playground and Starz all involved in bringing this fascinating drama to the small screen, however, we can be sure that the task of writing that script – and indeed the casting of these detailed characters – will be hotly contested.
We will, as ever, bring you more developments on this project, as and when they transpire.