Lakeshore Entertainment has announced that filmmaker Barry Levinson, of Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man, Sphere, and Wag the Dog previously, will be directing an adaptation of a noir novel called Train. Allison Burnett, of Resurrecting the Champ, Feast of Love, and Untraceable previously, will be writing the adaptation based on Pete Dexter’s novel. The 1950s-set story centers on Miller Packard, a white sergeant in the San Diego Police Department, and a young black golf caddy named Lionel “Train” Walk, who harbors knowledge of a murder, and what happens when the characters collide. The mystery also explores themes of city politics and racism in midcentury Southern California. Levinson hasn’t been at the top of his game much recently, so let’s hope he goes back to his roots with Train.
Barry Levinson recently finished What Just Happened?, which will hit limited theaters this fall, and is already attached to a western titled Boone’s Lick as well as an adaptation of Bill Bryson’s travel memoir A Walk in the Woods. Dexter’s novels have been highly sought after in Hollywood and have been fodder for Mulholland Falls, The Paperboy, and other films. Train has a 3-and-a-1/2 star rating on Amazon.com, with readers who say they were “completely engrossed from the opening line.” Similar to Edge of Darkness as well, I’m a fan of cinematic adaptations of cop stories and Train sounds like another good one. Apparently the story is more about racism in the 1950s than anything, which is what may take this to the next level. As I said initially, let’s just hope Levinson can get out of the rut he’s in and put together a great adaptation.

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