For many fans of hard-boiled detective yarns, John D. MacDonald's Fort Lauderdale-based "salvage consultant" Travis McGee is right there in the pantheon with Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and the Continental Op. But while those characters have all appeared in at least one classic film, no one has yet to successfully transfer MacDonald's beach bum to the big screen.
Enter Leonardo DiCaprio. And Peter Chernin. And Dana Stevens, the screenwriter of BLINK, FOR LOVE OF THE GAME and LIFE OR SOMETHING LIKE IT.
According to Variety, this is the team that's assembled at 20th Century Fox to tackle THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY, the first of twenty-one McGee novels MacDonald typed out before his death in 1986. If you're trying to remain upbeat about this team getting the character right, you're ignoring the "at 20th Century Fox" part of this sentence and hoping that DiCaprio's involvement will bring in talented, headstrong director who can keep micromanager du jour Tom Rothman at bay - if such a director exists. (Someone set the time machine for 1990 and shanghai George Armitage.)
Though I've never read a single Travis McGee novel (for shame), I have several friends who are fanatical about these books, and they're all depressed by the idea of Fox fucking them up. The studio has been developing THE DEEP BLUE GOOD-BY for a couple of years or so (RUNAWAY JURY's competent Gary Fleder was set to direct at one point), but this is the first I've heard of DiCaprio's participation. As always, he's got a great nose for material. But can you buy him as a 6'3", 205-pound former college football star? And are these physical qualities necessary to doing McGee justice?
I know we've got a bunch of MacDonald fans out there. What do y'all think?