Hollywood’s go-to script doctor, Scott Frank, has made a name for himself not just in screenwriting but both in writing and directing two acclaimed Netflix mini-series.
One was the western “Godless” which was very well received, and the other was the multiple Emmy-winning “The Queen’s Gambit” which became a cultural phenomenon upon its release – cementing rising actress Anya Taylor-Joy’s stardom.
He and Netflix had such success together that it comes as a surprising reveal by Frank in The New Yorker (via The Playlist) that the streaming giant actually passed on three follow-up projects Frank was pitching at the time – even one that would’ve seen him re-team with Taylor-Joy.
Whilst two of the projects are unknown, the piece reveals that the Taylor-Joy one would’ve been an adaptation of the 1938 novel “Laughter in the Dark” by Vladimir Nabokov which he and Megan Abbott would’ve co-adapted.
Thought of as a “Lolita” precursor, the story deals with a middle-aged art critic becoming infatuated with a 17-year-old girl. Frank’s plan was to do it as a full-blown film noir unfolding from the perspective of a stock noir character archetype. Abbott explains:
“We talked about the femme fatale as this character who gets short shrift. But really great noir is always toying with that. Scott wanted the female point of view to be foregrounded.”
Frank’s next is the upcoming series “Monsieur Spade” starring Clive Owen, which releases this month, and he and Netflix are getting back together for a whole other project – an adaptation of Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen’s crime novel “Department Q” which is expected to be his next project.