THR reports that Jerry Stahl ("Bad Boys II") has been tapped to pen the screenplay for the film, beating out Terry Rossio (”Pirates of the Caribbean”) and Christopher McQuarrie (”The Tourist”) for the job. Based on the classic book by Dashiell Hammett, the story follows Nick Charles, who marries into money, becomes a charming alcoholic and teams up with his socialite wife Nora to solve a murder. The film is set up over at Warner Bros. who want to retain the period setting but give it a modern feel (we're guessing they want to follow a "Sherlock Holmes" sort of template here).
Stahl is best known for penning the heroin memoir "Permanent Midnight" (which became a movie starring Ben Stiller), so he'll have a unique take on Charles' vice for drink. Rob Marshall, who was first linked to the director's chair, is in negotiations and it will continue his collaboration with Depp following 'On Stranger Tides.'
No word yet on when this plans to go in front of cameras. As it stands, Depp is getting ready to shoot "Dark Shadows" with Tim Burton and presumably will follow with Kathryn Bigelow's "Sleeping Dogs"/"Triple Frontier" in the fall but word on that project has grown a bit quiet of late. But, Depp as a crime solving dandy? Yeah, we'd give it a shot.