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'Lieutenant' producers reload Lethem's "Gun"

By Jay A. Fernandez

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Novelist Jonathan Lethem's "Gun, With Occasional Music" is being loaded once again.

Gabe and Alan Polsky, who recently produced "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans," have optioned the film rights to Lethem's sci-fi noir hybrid. Originally published by Harcourt Brace in 1994, the book has drawn interest from filmmakers for more than a decade.

With a mix of Raymond Chandler-style pulp detective fiction and futurist theorizing, "Music" follows an archetypal private eye through Oakland and San Francisco as he delves into the murder of a prominent urologist. Among Lethem's inventions are super-smart children called "baby-heads," evolved animals and animal rights, erotic nerve swapping, debit cards holding one's karma and a menacing kangaroo that works for the mob.

Director Alan J. Pakula originally optioned the film rights in the '90s. Early in this decade, the book was being adapted by writer-director Hampton Fancher ("The Minus Man") for Regency Enterprises.

The Polsky brothers also have adaptations of John Williams' "Butcher's Crossing" and Christopher Buckley's "God Is My Broker" in development.

Lethem has several other novels knocking around Hollywood. Journeyman Pictures holds an option on "The Fortress of Solitude," and New Line Cinema has long owned the rights to "Motherless Brooklyn," which Edward Norton has been adapting.

German company Elephant Film Production is developing a film from Lethem's short story "The Happy Man."

The author is finishing up a book tour for his latest novel, "Chronic City," which also has drawn interest from Hollywood.

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