The Queen's Gambit co-creator also has plans for a TV series based on Sam Spade, the detective famously played by Humphrey Bogart in 1941's The Maltese Falcon.

By Tyler Aquilina
December 08, 2020 at 01:53 PM EST
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Credit: KEN WORONER/NETFLIX

Scott Frank is planning to get the Queen's Gambit gang back together for his next project.

The writer-director, who penned and helmed every episode of the hit Netflix miniseries, is currently at work on an adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov's novel Laughter in the Dark that will reunite him with star Anya Taylor-Joy. On a recent episode of The Ringer's podcast The Watch, Frank discussed the project, noting that he's been "dying" to adapt the book for the screen and that he hopes to produce the adaptation in Berlin, with the team that made The Queen's Gambit.

"I'm gonna do it with Anya," Frank said. "It's gonna be kind of a valentine to movies, I'm gonna do it as a film noir. And the book is more about art and paintings; I'm gonna make it more of a movie within a movie. It's a really nasty, wonderful little thriller. I hope to do it with all the folks I did Queen's Gambit [with]."

Laughter in the Dark, first published in 1932, follows a middle-aged art critic, Albert Albinus, as he falls in love with a 17-year-old girl named Margot who uses him to realize her ambition of becoming a movie star. What follows is described as an "ironic novel of desire, deceit, and deception, a curious romance set in the film world of Berlin in the 1930s."

That's far from the only project Frank has on his plate, however. On the podcast, he also teased plans for a TV series based on the character Sam Spade, the detective famously played by Humphrey Bogart in 1941's The Maltese Falcon. The planned six-episode series will star Clive Owen as an older version of Spade living in the south of France.

"It's 1963, the end of the Algerian War, so all these guys are coming home into the country, and there's all this sort of socio-political stuff happening," Frank explained. "And he's in this little town, and the daughter of Sam Spade and [The Maltese Falcon femme fatale] Brigid O'Shaughnessy, he has in a convent living nearby....Basically, his past finds him in this little town in the south of France."

Frank is also penning an adaptation of Mary Doria Russell's 1996 sci-fi novel The Sparrow, about Jesuit priests who make contact with extraterrestrial life and set out to find it, in hopes of proving the existence of God. Johan Renck (Chernobyl) is planning to direct the project.

In other words, Frank is almost as busy as Taylor-Joy, who is currently filming Robert EggersThe Northman and is set to star as Furiosa in George Miller's upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road prequel. She will next be seen in Edgar Wright's Last Night in Soho, currently set for an April 2021 release.

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