Hollywood on the Hill: The Literary Hill

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Capitol Hill has the remarkable distinction of being home to not one, but two bestselling authors, both of whom currently have movies in the works.

“The Pale Blue Eye” is based on Louis Bayard’s gothic novel of the same name about a series of fictional murders that takes place at the United States Military Academy West Point in 1830. The crimes are investigated by veteran detective Augustus Landor, who is aided in his grim task by a young cadet named Edgar Allen Poe. Eerie and atmospheric, the book all but begs for a cinematic adaptation—and, happily, director Scott Cooper has obliged.

Landor is portrayed by Christian Bale, and Harry Melling, who played Dudley Dursley in the Harry Potter films, takes on the role of Poe. Other members of the ensemble cast include Gillian Anderson, Robert Duvall, and Lucy Boynton. The movie is scheduled to be released to theaters this December and will begin streaming on Netflix in January 2023. www.louisbayard.com

James L. Swanson’s “Manhunt” is being made into a six-part true-crime series for Apple TV+. The Edgar Award-winning book, “Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer,” which has been described as “part historical fiction and part conspiracy thriller,” focuses on the aftermath of the Lincoln assassination in 1865 and the pursuit of John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators.

Movies based on books by bestselling Hill authors Louis Bayard and James L. Swanson are currently in the works.

Created and written by Monica Beletsky and directed by Carl Franklin, the series features Tobias Menzies as Lincoln’s war secretary Edwin Stanton, Anthony Boyle as Booth, Hamish Linklater as Lincoln, and Lili Taylor as Mary Todd Lincoln. Filming is currently underway in Savannah and Philadelphia, where a historic theater is standing in for Ford’s (the National Park Service nixed the use of the historic site in DC). The premiere date has not yet been announced. @JamesLSwanson