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Warner Bros. Nabs Rights for Mickey Spillane's Pulp Private Eye Mike Hammer

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood October 22, 2012 at 5:00PM

Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to pulp author Mickey Spillane's rough-hewn, brilliantly unsympathetic private eye Mike Hammer. There are currently no specifics on the film adaptation, but one thing's for sure: the studio has its work cut out to compete...
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Ralph Meeker, center, as Mike Hammer in "Kiss Me Deadly"
Ralph Meeker, center, as Mike Hammer in "Kiss Me Deadly"

Warner Bros. has acquired the rights to pulp author Mickey Spillane's rough-hewn, brilliantly unsympathetic private eye Mike Hammer. There are currently no specifics on the film adaptation, but one thing's for sure: the studio has its work cut out to compete with the best and most brazenly unhinged Hammer adaptation, Robert Aldrich's "Kiss Me Deadly" (1955).

Author Max Allan Collins, who wrote "Road to Perdition" and continues the Hammer series following Spillane's death in 2006, will serve as an executive producer on the film, along with Spillane's widow, Jane Spillane.

Warner Bros. reportedly won the rights after a long period of negotiations, and is currently deciding on whether a modern update or period-true, 1940s-50s adaptation is best for this iteration of Hammer.

Aside from Ralph Meeker, who played the detective as an unfeeling lug facing nuclear annihilation in Aldrich's film, Hammer was also played by Stacy Keach throughout the '80s on TV, and by Armande Assante in 1982's "I, the Jury," the last time the character was adapted for film.

Which contemporary actor would make a great Mike Hammer? Tom Hardy comes to mind.

This article is related to: Warner Bros. , News, Mike Hammer


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.