Perhaps looking to see if lightening will strike twice, Gone Girl star Ben Affleck, director David Fincher and screenwriter/original novelist Gillian Flynn are reteaming for a new project, an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s classic suspense novel Strangers On A Train.
The project, with a title shortened to just Strangers, is being set up through Affleck’s production shingle Pearl Street Films, giving him a producer credit on the film as well.
None other than Alfred Hitchcock brought the book to the screen back in 1951, casting Farley Granger as a tennis pro whose seemingly random encounter on a train with a socialite leads to a pack where they promise to murder a person in each others life.
Flynn is currently in talks to pen the screenplay, which according to Deadline will update the story to modern day and recast the tennis pro as an actor in the midst of a Academy Award campaign who meets up with wealthy stranger who offers a devious bargain.
Long considered one of Hitchcock’s classics, I had the chance to see Strangers On A Train on the big screen a few years back and I can report that its merry-go-round set finale is absolutely gripping and holds up more than a half century after it was created. Can Fincher, Affleck and Flynn bring something to the material to create similar suspense? Normally, I would be decrying an attempt to tread ground already trod by Hitchcock, and will continue to do so until we have all learned the lessons that Gus Van Sant had to learn the hard way. But if there is anyone who has an even decent shot at effectively reworking this material, I think the trio here has it.