THE BOOK: Two Jewish cousins in New York City—one who has recently fled Nazi Europe—invent a comic-book character called the Escapist. Published in 2000, the book won Chabon a Pulitzer Prize.
WHAT HAPPENED? Scott Rudin, who also produced Chabon’s Wonder Boys, paid more than $1 million for the author’s one-and-a-half-page idea before there was even a novel. Chabon wrote the screenplay himself, and at times it seemed close to production—at one point it was rumored that Stephen Daldry would direct Tobey Maguire (who also starred in Wonder Boys) and Natalie Portman. But the project has been dormant for more than a year.
WILL WE EVER SEE THIS MOVIE? Quite possibly. Daldry is said to still want to direct, though he can’t start until he’s finished with The Reader and his traveling stage-musical version of Billy Elliot. And Chabon has a good track record: In addition to Wonder Boys, a movie of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, shot by director Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball) and starring Sienna Miller and Peter Sarsgaard, premiered recently at Sundance.
POTENTIAL SAVIOR: Bryan Singer got his big break with the intricately plotted and character-driven The Usual Suspects before making comic-book movies like X-Men and Superman Returns; here he could combine both his passions.