D.B. Cooper Novel May Get New Life In Film

Will Gluck, director of 2010’s Easy A, is at the center of a deal that CBS Films is making to adapt Geoffrey Gray’s novel Skyjack: The Hunt for D.B. Cooper.  Keith Bunin is tapped to write the script.

Bunin previously scripted episodes for the HBO series “In Treatment,” and is writing a live-action film about the life of Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) for Universal and Illumination Entertainment with the intent of Johnny Depp starring and producing.

The novel Skyjack is an action-comedy that tells the story of D.B.Cooper, who on Nov. 24, 1971, hijacked a Boeing 727, demanded $200,000 and parachutes, and jumped out over the Pacific Northwest. Cooper was never caught nor was his body or the money ever recovered, and has since been hailed as a folk hero.

The book features the perspectives of three different people claiming to be Cooper.

Read the official summary of Skyjack below:

‘I have a bomb here and I would like you to sit by me.’

That was the note handed to a stewardess by a mild-mannered passenger on a Northwest Orient flight in 1971. It was the start of one of the most astonishing whodunits in the history of American true crime: how one man extorted $200,000 from an airline, then parachuted into the wilds of the Pacific Northwest and into oblivion. D. B. Cooper’s case has become the stuff of legend and obsessed and cursed his pursuers with everything from bankruptcy to suicidal despair. Now with Skyjack, journalist Geoffrey Gray delves into this unsolved mystery uncovering new leads in the infamous case.

Starting with a tip from a private investigator into a promising suspect (a Cooper lookalike, Northwest employee, and trained paratrooper), Gray is propelled into the murky depths of a decades-old mystery, conducting new interviews and obtaining a first-ever look at Cooper’s FBI file. Beginning with a heartstopping and unprecedented recreation of the crime itself, from cabin to cockpit to tower, and uncanny portraits of characters who either chased Cooper or might have committed the crime, including Ralph Himmelsbach, the most dogged of FBI agents, who watched with horror as a criminal became a counter-culture folk hero who supposedly shafted the system…Karl Fleming, a respected reporter whose career was destroyed by a Cooper scoop that was a scam…and Barbara (nee Bobby) Dayton, a transgendered pilot who insisted she was Cooper herself.

With explosive new information and exclusive access to FBI files and forensic evidence, Skyjack reopens one of the great cold cases of the 20th century.”

The tale of D.B. Cooper had previously been made into a movie entitled The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, however this new project will be different due to the structure of the story and the focus of the three suspects.

Gluck would direct the project, and also produce under his Olive Bridge banner. He is in the middle of a Sony Pictures deal for movies and series, and this is a rare project outside that arrangement. Gluck most recently co-wrote Friends With Benefits, a romantic comedy starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. Gluck is repped by UTA. Bunin is repped by Kaplan/Perrone and CAA, and CAA reps the author as well. CBS Films execs Maria Faillace and Mark Ross are overseeing the film. For CBS Films, which has made acquisitions a big part of its slate, it becomes another filmmaker-driven homegrown project, much like the upcoming Seven Psychopaths by In Bruges helmer Martin McDonagh.

While CBS has already acquired the rights to the novel, the question comes whether or not Gluck will be up for the task.

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