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Between the Lines The inside scoop on the book world

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WINGING IT It doesn’t sound very high-concept, which may be onereason Terrence Malick likes the story: Two guys in a beat-upCessna Skyhawk track peregrine falcons on their long migrationfrom the Arctic to South America. That’s the subject of Aloft,which naturalist Alan Tennant has just sold to Knopf for arumored $650,000 — and which the director of Days of Heaven andThe Thin Red Line may adapt for the screen. ”Alan and Terry areold friends, and they have what I would say is an informalarrangement,” says Tennant’s agent, David McCormick. While themovie would focus on the buddies — Tennant and World War IIveteran pilot George Vose — the book mixes the adventure oftracking a falcon through the air with the author’s passion forbird lore and natural science. ”They almost die 50 differentways, and they find out all these things scientists didn’tknow,” says Knopf editor Deborah Garrison, who hopes to publishin 2004. — Matthew Flamm

MAKE HIS DAY Critical acclaim. Great sales. Paramount buying hisnovel Gone, Baby, Gone as a possible franchise for Ben Affleck.The New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl. If DennisLehane didn’t have enough wicked cool stuff going on, now ClintEastwood is set to make a film of the Boston-based crimewriter’s Mystic River. ”We weren’t going to sell, but whenEastwood came along, I said sure. It’s Clint! I mean, what areyou gonna do?” says Lehane. ”He’s shooting Blood Work right nowand the way I understand it, I’m next.” Don’t look for Lehane totake a crack at the screenplay, however. ”Oh no. Noooo. No, no,no, no, no. F — – no!” he says, laughing. ”I’ve done twoadaptations of my own work and swore I would never do themagain. It’s like a lawyer representing himself. We got [L.A.Confidential coscreenwriter] Brian Helgeland.” Besides, Lehaneis finishing his next book, Missing Dolores, due in early 2003.”It’s another stand-alone, set in the same fictional [Boston]neighborhood as Mystic River. There’s some overlap…but thereare no continuing characters.”