John D. McDonald was one of the finest popular novelists of the English language. Period. The man should be taught to anyone who wants to write, and his work should still be sold in grocery stores and airports. Compulsively readable, entertaining yet profound, his Travis McGee series was 21 books without a single weak entry, a rarity in publishing, and enormously successful in their day. If the books were relaunched with a major publicity push (they're completely out of print at the moment), they could be just as successful now, especially in a pop culture primed by Carl Hiaasen and Stephen King, just to name two of the many authors who owe McDonald major stylistic debts.
Evidently one of the reasons that the book series is out of print right now is because 20th Century Fox wants to reintroduce Travis McGee on their timetable, focused on a Travis McGee movie that they're developing for Leonardo Di Caprio to star in, produced by DiCaprio's Appian Way Productions and Jennifer Davisson-Killoran and Peter Chernin. Now rumor has Oliver Stone in early talks to direct the film, scripted by Dana Stevens and Kario Salem, and based on the first book in the series, The Deep Blue Good-by. The film would star Leonardo Di Caprio as McGee, and if things went well, would hopefully kick off a franchise for the actor, one of the few working movie stars today without a franchise in his hip pocket.
In July of last year, there was a big story in the Los Angeles Times about how Amy Robinson ("After Hours" and "Baby, It's You") was the primary producer still pushing the rock up the hill, but her name doesn't appear at all in the scoop that broke today at Deadline Hollywood. Makes me wonder if the studio muscled her off, or if it's just an oversight in the story. Keep in mind that Deadline is also reporting that Di Caprio is discussing the idea of starring in Clint Eastwood's J. Edger Hoover movie for Warner Bros., and that seems like something that would shoot sooner rather than later. Stone's wrapping up work right now on "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" for Fox, and the film may debut at this summer's Cannes film festival. That would be the first time at the festival for Stone, and it would mark a major return to pop culture center stage for the filmmaker, who's been a bit adrift lately.