The Bear Creator Christopher Storer To Direct Don Winslow Novel Adaptation The Winter Of Frankie Machine At Paramount

EXCLUSIVE: As his series creation The Bear turned in record Season Two ratings for Hulu, Christopher Storer is set to direct at Paramount Pictures The Winter of Frankie Machine, an adaptation of the 2006 Don Winslow novel. The film will be produced by Shane Salerno and The Story Factory, and Storer will use the Brian Koppelman & David Levien draft those writers did when Martin Scorsese was going to direct Robert De Niro in the lead role.

The deal was made before the WGA strike. There’s quite a backstory here, as not only Scorsese but also Michael Mann were once attached, and William Friedkin was briefly also, but that deal never made.   

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Winslow and Salerno received numerous approaches from major filmmakers over the past decade but never found the right fit and shot down all overtures until Storer came along. They had sparked to the initial season of The Bear, in which Jeremy Allen White plays a high end cuisine chef who comes back to take over a seedy Chicago eatery. They loved Storer’s passion for the novel, and that he was a fan of the original script.

Deadline uncovered the deal just after Storer’s currency is soaring as the second season of The Bear turned in Hulu’s highest ever ratings, with the show right in the middle of the Emmy race.

Winslow’s 2006 novel is about Frankie Machiani, a hitman for a San Diego mob family who’s dragged out of retirement when asked by an LA crime family boss to oversee a meeting between Detroit and LA crime families. He realizes quickly it’s all a set up to kill him. He needs to shake off the rust and dodge those killers until he figures out who is trying to kill him. The late Brad Grey had given the film a green light, until De Niro and Scorsese said they instead wanted to do a different hitman tale, The Irishman. In a guest column for Deadline, author Winslow revealed that it was all systems go until De Niro’s oft-collaborator Eric Roth gave him a copy of the non-fiction book I Heard You Paint Houses. Winslow said Roth was doing it to give his pal some research to play Frankie Machine, but De Niro liked that story so much he and Scorsese switched horses and he played another killer named Frank, in Frank Sheeran.

Winslow is represented by The Story Factory and CAA, Storer is repped by WME and Kaplan/Perrone and Koppelman & Levien by WME.

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