Hammer on Screen

October 23rd, 2012 by Max Allan Collins

It’s finally official: Warner Bros plans to bring Mike Hammer back to the screen. Read about it here.

The Deadline story got picked up everywhere, though some blogs did not just re-fry the story, but did an actual article/commentary, like this somewhat offbeat one.

There seems to be an assumption that I, THE JURY will be the first film (note the illos for the original Deadline piece). But the Warners contract excludes the following Hammer novels: I, THE JURY; MY GUN IS QUICK; KISS ME, DEADLY; and THE GIRL HUNTERS, all of which have already been made into films (I, THE JURY twice). The books that the film will draw upon are: ONE LONELY NIGHT, THE BIG KILL, THE SNAKE, THE TWISTED THING, THE BODY LOVERS, SURVIVAL…ZERO!, THE KILLING MAN, BLACK ALLEY, THE GOLIATH BONE, THE BIG BANG, KISS HER GOODBYE, LADY, GO DIE!, COMPLEX 90 and KING OF THE WEEDS. I believe the posthumous short stories are also included. The screenplay may draw upon one of the novels specifically, or it may be a new story using elements from a number of them. I will almost certainly not be given the opportunity to write a screenplay (the first one for sure), but I will be consulting and am officially an exec producer, as is Jane Spillane. Whether the film will be contemporary or period, I don’t know. I prefer period, but unlike some, I feel contemporary can work.

Here’s an interesting TARGET LANCER review from an Australian writer not familiar with the JFK assassination, except superficially.

Here’s another overseas view of Heller, this time a BYE BYE, BABY review from the excellent critic, Mike Carlson.

Here’s a particularly nice TRUE DETECTIVE review that came in.

And out of the blue, here’s a review of the graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION 2: ON THE ROAD (a nice one!).

I continue to be burrowed in on ASK NOT. It’s a tough book, and my head swims with research. I am breaking lots of rules with this one, but since I invented this particular game, I have no guilt. I had hoped to be done by election day, because Barb and I are planning to spend that day working out of my presidential candidate’s local office, making phone calls and driving people to the polls. But it’s probably going to take me till mid-November. Longer if the wrong guy wins and I get really, really depressed.


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4 Responses to “Hammer on Screen”

  1. dan luft says:

    I just heard John Grisham on the radio half an hour ago and he said that when he was paid to be an executive producer he didn’t have to do anything. So congratulations to you and Jane Spillane. Sounds like a decent gig.

  2. Brad Schwartz says:

    It’s great to hear we’ll probably be getting a new series of Hammer films, and that you’ll be involved creatively, though it’s disappointing that you won’t get first crack at the screenplay. I don’t really agree with the premise of the Boomtron piece that Hammer’s lack of name recognition among the post-Boomer generations (which sadly can’t be disputed) dooms the film from the get go. Warner did, after all, find great success with their Sherlock Holmes movies, and while Holmes has better name recognition than just about any fictional character, it’s certainly true that those movies proved popular with people who’d never read a Conan Doyle story in their lives while remaining relatively faithful to the source material. The question is whether the filmmakers can make the material appealing to modern mainstream audiences, and this is even less of a stretch for Hammer than for Holmes. Perhaps doing it in present day is one way to “make it relevant,” and even though I’d love to see it in period, if you think it can work I’ll trust you. Either way, I’m glad you and Jane Spillane will be there to keep it true to the books.

    Many thanks to you and Barb for doing your part on Election Day! As nice as it is to be living in a state generally considered in support of my candidate, it’s a little infuriating not to “matter” as much electorally. I don’t, however, miss the onslaught of campaign ads. Here’s hoping you won’t have any cause to be depressed on November 7, and not just because of the book.

  3. Spike says:

    Obama is tied pretty much everywhere. He’s got to find
    a way to get ahead in all the polls by at least 3 points
    by the election. Historically the undecided always break
    dramatically for the challenger. If its tied the day before
    the election, Obama loses.

    He needs to do something dramatic, like hold a press conference
    on Libya, tell what happened, and move away from all
    that. Its all I hear on the news, it can’t be helping him.

  4. Thanks for the thanks on the Hammer project. It’s early days so how much I will or won’t be involved remains to be seen.

    Spike, my wife won’t let me talk politics here. I’ll just say I hope the conventional wisdom you express does not apply this time. To me, the Libya thing has been cynically politicized and is not something most Americans understand or follow. And with tea party Republicans like this rape-babies-are-God’s-idea clown, Obama may not need to do something dramatic — not when the other side keeps doing melodramatic things.