Kelly Masterson signs on to adapt Roger Smith’s Mixed Blood.

Roger Smith is feeling pretty good these days. First, he became a published author when Henry Holt & Co published Mixed Blood. Next, the critics showered him (and the book) with heaps of praise. Now Hollywood came a calling as well.

GreenStreet Films has purchased the film rights to Mixed Blood.

An American, hiding out in Cape Town, South Africa, after being blackmailed into a bank heist back home, is building a new life for his pregnant wife and young son, when an incident of random violence sets him on a collision course with street gangs and a rogue cop who loves killing almost as much as he loves Jesus Christ.

Samuel L Jackson has agreed to play Disaster Zondi, a Zulu special Investigator.

Roger is elated with Jackson’s involvement, saying that having the actor attached is “about as good as it gets.”

Earlier this week, Kelly Masterson (Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead and is currently adapting Marcus Sakey’s Good People) signed on to write the screenplay. Kelly first read Mixed Blood almost a year before it’s publication and was captivated by it. Almost immediately, he made it clear he was interested in adapting it.

I asked Kelly to share his thoughts on Mixed Blood and it’s author: “Mixed Blood is such a terrific and gripping story. My first reaction was that it is a great contemporary story set in the violent, turbulent, chaotic and mysterious land in Cape Town, South Africa. To place an American fugitive in this strange world and put him and his young family in danger makes for a compelling thriller. But as I began working on it, I realized that the bones of Roger’s story are a very solid story of the clash between good and evil. It is a Western set in modern day South Africa. You have the young, optimistic, struggling family beset by forces of good and evil. The town is run by the old guard, the corrupt sheriff embodied in the grotesque character of the Boer cop they call Gatsby who represents old South Africa. You have the new sheriff brought into town to clean it up in the great character of Detective Disaster Zondi, representing a new sense of justice in South Africa. Our American hero has committed an original sin and is on the run from American authorities but is thrust by fate in the middle of the ancient tug of war between the opposing forces of good and evil. Lay over the top of this brewing cauldron, rich characters and fast paced action and you have a terrific story that will make a thrilling, powerful movie.

I can not believe this is Roger’s first novel. It is very mature, complex and deep. His characters are textured and fascinating. I applaud his magnificent achievement and can’t wait to get into his world.”

Roger was pleased as punch to hear about Kelly’s involvement: “I have been an admirer of “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” since it was first released. Kelly Masterson’s original screenplay, a slice of brilliantly plotted neo-noir, is one of my favorites of recent years. Given his enthusiasm for dark, character-driven material, I can’t think of anyone better to adapt “Mixed Blood” for the screen.”

Good to see the pairing of two talented writers. I look forward to seeing the final product.