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Exclusive: Tom McCarthy Teaming With Ed Brubaker on Pulp Movie Based on Violent Graphic Novel

Oscar-winning writer Tom McCarthy (Spotlight) is teaming up with award-winning comic book creator Ed Brubaker on a feature adaptation of the latter’s 2020 graphic novel Pulp, which McCarthy would also direct depending on how their script turns out, Above the Line has exclusively learned.

Set in a world on the brink, the graphic novel is described as one part thriller, one part meditation on a life of violence, and a celebration of all things “pulp.”

The film will follow Max Winters, a pulp writer in 1930s New York who finds himself drawn into a story much like the tales he’s known for telling of an outlaw dispensing justice with a six-shooter in the Wild West. But when Max finds himself pursued by bank robbers, Nazi spies, and enemies from his past, the question is whether he’ll be able to do the same.

McCarthy and Brubaker have commenced writing, and while the project isn’t set up anywhere just yet, the duo’s first stop is expected to be Legendary — though a source indicates that negotiations on that front have yet to begin, as it remains early days.

Stillwater movie
Matt Damon, Abigail Breslin, and Tom McCarthy on the set of Stillwater/Jessica Forde/Focus Features

Brubaker and Pulp artist Sean Phillips previously created the bestselling comic book series Criminal and Kill or Be Killed, both of which are fantastic. The two Eisner Award winners were also joined by artist Jacob Phillips on Pulp.

As for McCarthy, he won an Oscar for co-writing Spotlight with Josh Singer, and he also directed that film to a well-deserved Best Picture Oscar. His other feature credits are impressive, ranging from The Station Agent and The Visitor to Win Win and Stillwater. More recently, he created the ABC series Alaska Daily starring Hilary Swank, in addition to writing, directing, and executive producing the series.

Of course, one can’t write about McCarthy without mentioning that he also played morally challenged reporter Scott Templeton in Season 5 of The Wire, which is indisputably one of the greatest TV series ever made. McCarthy is represented by the Gersh Agency, while Brubaker is repped by Rothman Brecher Ehrich Livingston.

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