February 13, 2008 / 2:24 AM / 12 years ago

Chabon's 'Yiddish Policemen' headed for big screen

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The filmmaking team behind Oscar favorite “No Country for Old Men” have reached a deal to adapt another Pulitzer-winning author’s story to the big screen — Michael Chabon’s bestseller, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.”

Ethan (L) and Joel Coen are seen arriving at the premiere of "No Country For Old Men" in Hollywood in this November 4, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Max Morse/Files

Columbia Pictures has acquired movie rights to Chabon’s murder mystery set in Alaska for brothers Joel and Ethan Coen to write and direct, with their “No Country” collaborator Scott Rudin signed as producer, a studio spokesman said on Tuesday.

According to the entertainment trade magazine Daily Variety, which first reported the deal, the Coen brothers will turn their attention to Chabon’s novel after they shoot an upcoming film titled “A Serious Man.”

“No Country for Old Men,” based on Cormac McCarthy’s novel of the same name, has become the highest-grossing film for the Coens and has been nominated for eight Oscars, including the Academy Award for best picture.

The film is considered the clear Oscar front-runner, having also clinched top prizes from the Writers Guild of America, the Screen Actors Guild, the Directors Guild of America and the Producers Guild of America, among others.

Like many projects the Coen brothers have been drawn to, “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” involves a colorful, if unlikely assortment of characters caught up in offbeat or unusual circumstances.

The book follows an alcoholic detective’s investigation of a heroin-addicted chess prodigy who might be the messiah. The story is set in a fictional Jewish settlement in Sitka, Alaska, that is about to be turned over to Alaskan natives.

A spokesman for Sony Corp.-owned Columbia Pictures said no casting decisions have been made, and no time frame for production or release has been set.

“Yiddish Policeman’s Union” is Chabon’s third novel that Rudin is helping bring to the movies, following the 2000 film “Wonder Boys” and an upcoming Paramount Pictures adaptation of Chabon’s Pulitzer-winning book “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.”

McCarthy, the author of “No Country for Old Men,” won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2007 for “The Road.”

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