A few months back, I reported that James Mangold (The Wolverine) was set to direct an adaptation of John D. MacDonald’s “The Deep Blue Goodbye.” At the time, I noted that based on the description of the book’s title character Travis McGee, it sounded like a good gig for Matthew McConaughey.
Here’s my description of the character, who would become the protagonist for several more adaptations if Hollywood can successfully launch him with Deep Blue Goodbye:
“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.”
Sounds like it would require someone who has the charming, mischievous spirit of a McConaughey or Magnum P.I.-era Tom Selleck, right? As turns out, Mangold seems to think his 3:10 To Yuma star, Christian Bale, can pull it off.
According to Variety, Bale is in early talks to take on the role of McGee for the film- which would hopefully become the start of a string of literary adaptations the way we’ve seen Hollywood do with Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne, Jack Ryan, and others. MacDonald wrote several novels about the character, so there’s plenty of material for them to use.
The film will be working off of a script by “Mystic River” novelist Dennis Lehane, which recently received a second draft by Scott Frank (Minority Report, Out of Sight). Leonardo DiCaprio is producing, after at one point being set to play McGee himself.
There’s quite a pedigree here. Just looking at the resumÃ©s of everyone involved inspires some serious confidence, even if Bale isn’t the first guy you think of when you think of casting Travis McGee.