James Mangold (3:10 To Yuma, The Wolverine) is in negotiations to direct a film adaptation of John D. MacDonald's The Deep Blue Good-By, according to Deadline. The book was the first of a 21-part mystery series starring lead character Travis McGee, and Fox is hoping to launch a franchise with it. They believe Travis Mcgee has the potential to become a character like Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan, or- more recently- Jack Reacher, that can anchor a series of films.
At one stage, Leonardo DiCaprio was set to play him, but that fell through due to the actor's schedule. DiCaprio will remain onboard as a producer, though. So if Mangold does sign on the dotted line, it's safe to say the hunt for the right guy to portray McGee will begin.
The character is described as something of a beach bum in Florida that lives on his houseboat, The Busted Flush, and doesn't do much of anything until he needs money. When he needs to make some cash, he does for-hire jobs helping people get back their missing property as a "salvage consultant," helps and seduces women along the way, and gets himself into various misadventures while on assignments.
McGee has been a literary fixture since 1964, so Fox is being careful to line up the right people to make sure that his jump to the big screen is done right. To that end, they've hired Mystic River novelist Dennis Lehane to write the latest draft of the script.
Might I suggest Matthew McConaughey for the lead role? He has the perfect combination of that beach bum "cool guy" thing coupled with a renewed focus and intensity for his work that could elevate the material.
Not to mention, having a recent Academy Award-winning best actor in the lead role never hurt anyone. Just my two cents.
No word yet on when production of The Deep Blue Good-By will begin, but I'll keep an eye out as the search for the right man to bring Travis McGee to life begins.