Paul Greengrass Directing Ness, Based On The Graphic Novel Torso

– by Nick Doll

If you are a fan of history or film (or even history of film), then you should know the name Eliot Ness. Ness was an American Prohibition Agent who famously took down Al Capone with his team of law enforcement agents nicknamed The Untouchables. Yes, like the 1987 classic film The Untouchables, starring Kevin Costner as Eliot Ness and directed by Brian De Palma. There was also a show in the late '50s, early '60s of the same name, but that might not be as fresh in your memory.

Ness' story hardly ended with the prosecution of Capone, as he went on the be the Public Safety Director of Cleveland when a series of grisly murders took place between 1935 and 1938. Twelve victims were confirmed over these three years, all beheaded and often dismembered, some with their torso cut clean in half. The heads were almost never found. The serial killer was both known as the Cleveland Torso Murderer or the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run.

The true story was adapted into a black and white graphic novel from Image called Torso, by comics legend Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyke. It's a book near and dear to my heart; I have it sitting next to my computer as I write this. The official synopsis on the back of the book is as follows:

Torso tells the gripping tale of Eliot Ness' chase of America's first serial killer: the mysterious Torso Killer.

Enough with the history lesson! Deadline reports Paul Greengrass is attached to direct an adaptation of the graphic novel, titled Ness, for Paramount Pictures. The project has been around for over a decade; at one point David Fincher was circling it with the possibility of Matt Damon playing Ness (which would have been perfect). No actors are attached at this point, but Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Green Zone) adapted the screenplay, including the most recent draft which attracted Greengrass to the project. It is said to kick off a potential franchise, but I really don't know what direction it could possibly take after the initial story. 

The graphic novel is a must read as the true story is almost too cinematic to believe. I'm incredibly excited someone has picked up the project. Before I ever read the graphic novel, I did a report on the real life events in seventh grade, that I had to deliver in character as Eliot Ness. 

What are your thoughts on Ness? Have you had the pleasure of reading the graphic novel Torso? Or have you never heard of the Torso Killer?

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SOURCE: Deadline

Film, News Ness, Torso