Mark and Jay Duplass to Adapt MULE for Director Todd Phillips

     April 26, 2012


Back in February, we learned that The Hangover director Todd Phillips was developing four projects at Warner Bros. as possible directorial vehicles.  One of said projects was an adaptation of Tony D’Souza’s novel Mule.  The story centers on a couple who decide to traffic drugs as a result of the economic downturn and the wife’s unexpected pregnancy. The husband quickly rises up the drug trafficking ladder to become a drug boss and the two find themselves way over their heads.  At the time, Phillips and producer Scott Budnick were looking for a writer to put on the project.  Now it appears that Mark and Jay Duplass have been tapped to pen the adaptation.  Hit the jump for more, including a synopsis for the book.

mule-book-coverNews of the Duplass brothers’ involvement comes via Deadline, and frankly, this is a pretty damn exciting marriage of material and screenwriter.  The Duplass brothers have proved to be enormous talents as writer/directors on dramedies like Cyrus, The Puffy Chair, and Jeff Who Lives at Home.  They can nail comedy and drama in one fell swoop, and I’m eager to see a (hopefully) mature effort from Phillips.  The director is currently prepping The Hangover Part III, but it’d be great to see him tackle Mule as his follow-up.  Read a synopsis for the book below.

James and Kate are golden children of the late twentieth century, flush with opportunity. But an economic downturn and an unexpected pregnancy send them searching for a way to make do.

A winter in the mountains of California’s Siskiyou County introduces a tempting opportunity. A friend grows prime-grade marijuana; if James transports just one load from Cali to Florida, he’ll pull down enough cash to survive for months.

James navigates life as a mule, then a boss—from moneyhungry friends to gun-toting drug lords, from Sacramento to Tallahassee, from just making the weight move cross-country to making thousands of dollars a day. The risks keep rising, forcing him to the next criminal level. A kidnapping, a shootout, a bank vault—it all culminates in a swirl of action.

Absorbing and timely, Mule perfectly captures the anxieties of plunging into the criminal world and of being a young person making do in a moment when the American Dream you never had to believe in—because it was handed to you, fully wrapped and ready to go at the takeout window— suddenly vanishes from the menu. [Amazon]

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