He may not have written the script but it’s his book which is currently being turned into a $23 million Hollywood movie.
Kevin said: “It’s the first of my books which has actually been made. It’s great when people love your work but I hope it will also spread the word about the books. Books always come first for me.”
For the Dogs, which has been renamed Hunter’s Prayer for the film adaptation, was first printed in the USA in 2004 by Simon & Schuster.
A gripping thriller about a teenage girl on the run across Europe who gets involved with a retired hitman, it wasn’t published in the UK at the time but has acquired a cult reputation over the years.
As always with these things, a bit of luck and personal contacts was involved, that and the passage of time.
Kevin said: “The book has been in development on and off for nine years. The project was stalled until I got an email from someone called Paul Leyden who had just read it on his honeymoon and loved it.
“He asked me if I would let him know if the book ever came back on the market because he thought it might be great for a friend of his who was just about to appear in the film Avatar. That was Sam Worthington.”
He seems happy enough with the casting, though he’s not been involved with the film’s production itself.
“I became convinced Sam was right for the character of Lucas when I saw Terminator Salvation. He was the best thing in it and his character hit many of the same notes.”
“I chose not to be involved with the script, movies are just not a world I understand.
“I think the producers will be loyal to the spirit of the novel, not least because Sam also loved it and has probably read it more than I have!”
Harrogate’s role in the movie has been to pose as a street in Switzerland where a car chase is taking place – hence the foreign licence plates and French signposts which sprouted overnight.
Partly financed by Screen Yorkshire, it’s ironic that the town should be chosen as one of the locations for this fast-paced thriller.
The Montpellier quarter of Harrogate, Yorkshire, has been transformed into a movie set ahead of filming for a Hollywood blockbuster.
Film crews arrived in town on the 10th November and filming for Hunters Prayer, an action-packed thriller, began on the evening of the 11th, one week ahead of the original schedule. Road signs and shop signs have been replaced with French language signs as the area is to appear as Swiss streets on screen.
Landlord of ‘La Montpellier’ (The Montpellier Pub), Andrew Mears, said of Sam’s popping in for a pint: “He had a pint of Old Peculiar, he was in with a lady, his co-star I think. He was a lovely man, very polite. All the crew have been very polite, there is a bit of disruption but it is good for Harrogate. They have done such a good job of it.”
Harrogate was chosen by film makers for its European look. Filming will also take place in Leeds. Location manager Matt Bowden said the director (Jonathan Mostow, who made Terminator 3) loved Harrogate, adding: “They all love Harrogate. Hopefully, this will lead to more and more filming. The hope is we won’t have to dress the street too much and it will still be recognizable.”
A dramatic car chase and shoot out scenes were filmed overnight.
Sierra/Affinity say it has been sold to 20 foreign territories so far. Distributors buying the film include Asia Pay TV (STAR), Bulgaria (Tandem), Ex-Yugo (Blitz), Germany (Square One), Greece / India / Middle East / Turkey (Italia), Hong Kong / Taiwan (Sound Space), Iceland (Myndform), Israel (United Kinga), Indonesia (PT Prima), Latin America (Sun Distribution), Malaysia / Vietnam (Roarlion), South Africa (Ster Kinekor), South Korea (Focus and Company), Switzerland (Ascot Elite) and Thailand (Mongkol).
Additional cast members have also been announced, including Martin Compston (Line of Duty), Amy Landecker (Dan in Real Life), and Verónica Echegui (The Cold Light of Day).
‘Hunter’s Prayer’ tells the story of Lucas (Sam), an assassin hired to kill Ella (Odeya Rush). Instead, he bonds with her and can’t carry out his assignment. Lucas is then targeted, and the duo flee across Europe. Their m.o. for survival: Find out why her family was wiped out and bring those responsible to justice.
‘Hunter’s Prayer’ was adapted from the novel ‘For The Dogs’, written by Kevin Wignall, by screenwriters Paul Leydon, Oren Moverman, John Brancato, and Michael Ferris.
The movie began filming this week in Yorkshire, UK, which will serve as a number of international locales including Switzerland, New York, Germany and Spain. Leeds will also be a key filming locale, with more scenes to be shot in Harrogate, Helmsley, Scarborough and Saltaire, as well as Hungary.
The project is financed by the Ingenious Senior Film Fund, Ingenious Project Finance, Maple Leaf Corp, LipSync Productions, and Screen Yorkshire through its Yorkshire Content Fund.
Producing are – Navid McIlhargey (Rock’n’Rolla) of Vandal Entertainment and Anthony Rhulen (Rum Diary) of Film Engine (US), Chris Milburn (An American Haunting) of Midsummer Films (UK), John and Michael Schwarz, Worthington for Full Clip (US) and Paul Leyden. Executive producers include Gavin Poolman and Duncan Reid for the Ingenious Senior Film Fund, Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire, and Norman Merry and Peter Hampden for LipSync Productions.
17-year-old Odeya Rush has been cast opposite Sam in action-thriller Hunter’s Prayer. She will play Ella, a young girl who teams up with an assassin who has been hired to kill her family, to find the person responsible. Hailee Steinfeld and Emma Roberts had previously been attached to the movie.
The US/UK project, formerly known as ‘For The Dogs’ is to be directed by Jonathan Mostow. Producing are Navid McIlhargey and Anthony Rhulen for Film Engine, Chris Milburn for Midsummer Films, John and Michael Schwarz and Sam for Full Clip, Paul Rock, Jimmy Costas, and Paul Leyden.
The story is based on the Kevin Wignall novel and was adapted by Leyden, Oren Moverman, and John Brancato and Michael Ferris.
Filming is due to start next month in the UK.