Santa Cruz writer S.G. Browne‘s book Breathers, a comic zombie romance which he describes as “a classic story of suffering and redemption, like The Color Purple or the New Testament, only with cannibalism” has been sold to Fox Searchlight, with Diablo Cody set to produce. (Cody is last year’s slumdog millionaire, as it were — her Academy Award for the “Juno” screenplay vaulted her to fame and Hollywood power.) Browne, a former Disney screenwriter, will be appearing at next month’s Writers with Drinks as well as other venues after the March 3 release of his book.
A year ago I blogged about Josh Bazell, a doctor at UCSF who had just gotten a million dollar book deal. Well, the book, Beat the Reaper, has just been released, and Leonardo DiCaprio has just been signed to star in a film of the comic thriller. I’ll let that E! Online article give the one-line summary of the book: it’s “a comic suspense tale about a former hit man hiding out as a Manhattan emergency room doctor whose cover is blown after a mobster recognizes him.” The main character is also a martial arts expert who kills people with his hands, as well as with — not to give away the ending — a particularly unique weapon.
I caught up with author Josh Bazell on Thursday and talked to him about his book and his work as a newly minted M.D.
How did you decide to write a novel about a hit man who has become a brilliant doctor?
I was interested in writing a book about the extent to which people can change their own identities. I was focused on that issue at the time because I was doing my medical training, and I was probably curious — and maybe fearful — about how it might change me.