David Slade to Direct Ed Brubaker’s Coward

Jamie Patricof announced today that Hunting Lane Films (Half Nelson, Blue Valentine, The Place Beyond the Pines) has acquired the rights to Coward, the first book from the “Criminal” series of graphic novels written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Sean Phillips. Brubaker will be adapting his own book for the screen, with David Slade (Hard Candy, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) attached to direct. Sierra / Affinity are attached to finance the project and will also represent the international sales rights to the project.

“We are thrilled to be working with Ed Brubaker on ‘Coward,’” said Patricof. “This is such an iconic comic and I have been a fan of Ed’s for years. With David Slade now attached, we have a clear vision for what the film will be and it is really exciting.”

“I’ve had interest in the ‘Criminal’ books for a long time, but knew I had to wait for the exact right people, who understood the material and how to bring it to the screen,” said Brubaker. “Jamie’s work as a producer has impressed the hell out of me, and David Slade’s passion for this project and his plans for how to visualize it are already inspiring me.”

Nick Meyer, CEO of Sierra / Affinity, stated, “There are so many things we like about this project from the source material being from the renowned Ed Brubaker and the Eisner Award-winning graphic novel that is cherished throughout the world to Jamie Patricof producing and David Slade directing. ‘Coward’ is an example of the types of films we at Sierra / Affinity want to continue to be involved with in terms of financing as well as our producing and sales expertise.”

Slade had this to say, “‘Coward’ is such a contemporary, hard-boiled crime thriller yet at the same time it echoes the greats of its genre to me, films like ‘Straight Time,’ ‘Performance,’ and ‘Dog Day Afternoon.’ We intend to make a thoroughly character driven noir. Ed Brubaker is the master Criminal writer, you might say his work has the aftertaste of James Ellroy, Ed Bunker and PK Dick, but to me no one writes like Brubaker, no one gets you on the edge of your seat the way he does. I’ve chased this project with a fever for a long while now and I’m really excited we are making it.”

Coward takes place in a self-contained universe of hustlers, crooked cops, pickpockets, and low lives, telling the story of Leo, a master thief who can always be relied on to have an exit plan. “Criminal” is an ongoing crime comic book series by writer Ed Brubaker with artist Sean Phillips published by Marvel Comics’ Icon imprint.