Hollywood beckons for moore
Keanu Reeves and top producer snap up film rights for Calvino series
by Jim Pollard
Popular expat novellist Christopher Moore appears poised on the doorstep of international fame and fortune.
After 20 years as a full-time fiction writer based in Bangkok, the Canadian is eyeing a virtual transfer from steamy Southeast Asia - the murky Sukhumvit division, if you like - to the Premier League.
Hollywood star Keanu Reeves and Steve Samuels, producer of the movie "Michael Clayton", have bought the rights to Moore's novels. Keanu Reeves as detective Vincent Calvino? That could be hip.
Moore, 55, is a thoughtful, observant man. A disciplined writer and fan of English novelist Graham Green, he has penned his own turf - documenting expatriate life, the rich underworld of Bangkok, Pattaya and Phnom Penh, the dramatic transformation of modern-day Thailand - and won growing recognition in the field of crime noir.
His Calvino series is now available in 11 languages. And Atlantic Monthly Press is publishing 'Spirit House' and two other novels in the US and UK this and next year.
He has won crime fiction awards in Germany (2004) and Spain (2007), and reviews in the US and elsewhere look to have been good.
Moore started as a law professor before embarking on writing radio dramas for the CBC. "I was living in New York and came here first in '83 as a tourist. Then I came to write a book, at the end of '88. I moved into [Sukhumvit] Soi 27 - and was there nearly 20 years. I only moved out recently - November," he said.
I met Moore at Pan Pan in Sukhumvit 33 last week. The Italian restaurant is alongside the sub-soi where Calvino's small office is located in Moore's nine (and soon to be 10) Calvino novels.
"I set a lot of books here - 'Soi Calvino' I call it."
Currently, he's finishing novel number 21, 'Paying Back Jack', the tenth in the Calvino series, which is due out in December. He's also doing the storyline for novel 22.
Moore has lived off his savings and promoted his books cleverly. Covers were posted for a number of years on the walls of toilets at popular bars. Thousands of men enjoying go-go bars in Nana couldn't miss them while taking a pee.
"After 20 years I became an overnight wonder. The press has been fantastic - from the New York Times and down, the reviews have been very positive."
The thought of Keanu Reeves "to star as Calvino" is exciting, but Moore is measured in his comments - well aware that many film projects don't get off the ground, or become box-office hits. "They paid a large amount of money for the option. I think they're looking to do a franchise like the Bourne series with Matt Damon."