WORKING WITH BLACK SWAN SCREENWRITER JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
After all that talk about how Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan is similar to the cinema of Brian De Palma, it turns out that De Palma's name was actually included in the Black Swan press kit. Under the kit's bio for screenwriter John McLaughlin, one of McLaughlin's latest film projects is listed as "a movie based on the Donald Westlake underworld character Parker with Brian De Palma attached to direct." I checked with De Palma, who confirmed the project. The bio also mentions a McLaughlin project called The Man Who Killed Houdini, and someone at TampaBay.com yesterday must have misread McLaughlin's bio, because they mistakenly stated that De Palma was attached to the Houdini project (De Palma said he is not involved with that one).
In any case, the Parker project sounds rather promising. Parker is a character created by Westlake under the pseudonym Richard Stark. The first novel to feature the character, The Hunter, was published in 1962, and subsequently adapted into two films: John Boorman's masterful Point Blank (1967), which starred Lee Marvin (as "Walker") and Angie Dickinson; and Payback (1999), starring Mel Gibson (as "Porter") and Gary Sinise. Robert Duvall also played a character based on Parker in John Flynn's The Outfit (1973), as did Jim Brown in Gordon Flemyng's The Split (1968).
McLaughlin shares screenwriting credit for Black Swan with Mark Heyman and Andrés Heinz. McLaughlin was the one who initially moved the story from its original Off-Broadway setting, bringing it into the world of ballet. McLaughlin has also adapted Stephen Rebello's book, Alfred Hitchcock And The Making Of Psycho, into a screenplay that was at one point heading into production under the direction of Ryan Murphy, and starring Anthony Hopkins as Hitchock. However, Steven Zeitchik at the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday that Sacha Gervasi (Anvil! The Story of Anvil) is now in talks to take over that project.
For more information on the Parker character, visit The Violent World of Parker.