You might not think there’s much left for a Hollywood screenwriter to accomplish after penning a sequel to “The Hunger Games.” But for Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning scribe behind “Slumdog Millionaire,” there’s plenty of work ahead now that he’s finished adapting Suzanne Collins' novel “Catching Fire."
“I’m done [with ‘Catching Fire’] and getting back to several different projects,” Beaufoy told 24 Frames from his home in London on Thursday.
One big priority? “The Raw Shark Texts,” the adaptation of Steven Hall’s science fiction-y novel that Beaufoy began work on as far back as 2008.
The novel is a strange one — it’s about a man named Eric Sanderson who wakes up one day and finds an earlier version of himself has been lost on a trip to Greece, where his girlfriend was killed in a boating accident, and that his memory is possibly being pursued by sharks. Yes, sharks. They eat memory, "Eternal Sunshine"-style. Sanderson has to get to the bottom of the mystery and try to discover what happened to his dead paramour in the process.
A Times review called it “so much more than a clever, playful book, though it is both those things,” and compared it to Philip K. Dick and Haruki Murakami.
The project has been stuck in development, but Beaufoy now says he has a draft he’s happy with and is, along with producers, closing in on a big-name director. He thinks the director could be signed within the next few weeks.
Beaufoy is honest about the big swing that “Raw Shark” takes. “It'll either be really tremendous or it will be a disaster. There really is no middle ground.”
Another big priority for Beaufoy: “Sharp Teeth,” Toby Barlow’s 2008 novel, written in verse (!), about a gang of werewolf dogs in East L.A. that plot to take over the city. (No, it’s not a political satire. Well, not explicitly.)
Beaufoy is getting his own (Slum)dog pack back together for this one: Christian Colson, who produced the 2009 Oscar winner, is also producing, and British powerhouse Film4 is helping to finance, as it did “Slumdog.”
Will the all-important fourth member of that crew be baring his teeth?
“I think it would be great if Danny did it,” Beaufoy said, alluding to director Danny Boyle. “But he’s got the Olympics now, so it’s hard to know what he’ll do next. He may just retire.”
— Steven Zeitchik
Photo: A great white shark opens wide. Credit: Tom Campbell/Associated Press.