John Hawkes to Star in Elmore Leonard Adaptation Switch

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Famously played on the big screen by Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro in 1997’s Jackie Brown, the characters Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara first appeared in the 1978 Elmore Leonard novel The Switch. Now, Variety reports that that novel’s adaptation is moving forward with Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and John Hawkes assuming the Robbie and Gara roles.

Dan Schechter (Supporting Characters) will write and direct the film (just called Switch), which is officially described as follows:

Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara have lots in common—time in the same slammer, convictions for grand theft auto, and a plan for a big score. They’re going to snatch the wife of a Detroit developer and collect some easy ransom money. They don’t figure on a bum of a husband who has a secret mistress and no desire to get his wife back. Or on his crazy, beautiful broad of a housewife who’s going to join Ordell and Louis in the slickest, saviest crime of all.

While the project is termed in the Variety article a prequel to Jackie Brown, it’s currently unclear as to exactly how closely that term applies. Leonard adaptations have a somewhat convoluted “shared universe” whereby Michael Keaton was able to cameo as his Jackie Brown character, Ray Nicolette, in Steven Soderbergh’s adaptation, Out of Sight. That film’s lead character, Karen Sisco (played in the film by Jennifer Lopez) was spun off into an eponymous television show in 2003. Carla Gugino played Sisco in the short-lived series and the actress later guest-starred on the Leonard-based “Justified,” with the characters changed for legal reasons.