Eleventh Hour Films Options True-Crime & Thriller Books


Eleventh Hour Films has commissioned two book adaptations, including The Man in the Back Seat (w.t.), which takes in the events of Paul Stickler’s true-crime novel The Long Silence.

The scripted adaptation will depict one of the most controversial and divisive criminal cases in Britain, which resulted in the 1962 execution of James Hanratty for the murder of Michael Gregsten and the rape and attempted murder of Valerie Stone. Long after he was hanged, he had vocal supporters who contested the verdict, but in 2002, Stone spoke out and a DNA test proved his guilt.

Stickler, a former U.K. police officer with a background in murder investigations and seconded to the FBI National Academy, will serve as a consultant for the series. He was granted access to Storie’s personal letters and diaries ahead of writing his novel.

The Man in the Back Seat (w.t.) will be written by novelist David Peace (Red Riding, The Damned United) and actor/writer Ted Reilly.

Eleventh Hour Films has also optioned Celia Walden’s thriller Payday for development into a series. Published in September 2022, the female-driven story centers on three women who work for a property brokerage firm. The three each experience problematic behavior from colleague Jamie. He gaslights company founder and owner Jill behind her back, sexually harasses client manager Nicole and fires his personal assistant Alex while she’s on maternity leave and blames her for one of his own mistakes. When the three women talk to each other about what they’ve gone through, they agree that something must be done. In the end, Jamie ends up dead.

In time for these new commissions, Eleventh Hour Films has tapped NBCUniversal International Studios alum Christopher Kan as head of development.

“With five separate programs on the go all at different stages of production—from Alex Rider season three, The Killing Kind and Moonflower Murders to Rebus and Robyn Hood—we’re exceptionally proud to have started 2023 firing on all cylinders,” said Jill Green (chief executive), Paula Cuddy (creative director) and Eve Gutierrez (executive producer and head of talent). “It’s wonderful to welcome Christopher to the EHF team and add future titles to our development pipeline. The Man in the Back Seat (w.t.) and Payday couldn’t be more different as projects, but they exemplify exactly what we love to do at Eleventh Hour Films, which is to tell distinctive stories which audiences love to watch.”