Reading the Screen: Donald E. Westlake's Parker

May is Mystery Month here at Booklist, and what better way to celebrate than to announce that Donald E. Westlake’s Parker novels are getting the big-screen treatment again, this time with Jason Statham (star of the Transporter and Crank movies) in the lead role.

According to this article at, this will be the first time Parker gets to use his own name. You may recall that when Mel Gibson played him in 1999’s Payback, he was called Porter; and that Lee Marvin’s 1967 incarnation, in Point Blank, was called Walker. He’s also been called McLain and Macklin. (If some of this sounds familiar, it’s because I talked briefly about the Parker film adaptations here. And I wrote about Westlake’s stellar career, including the Parker novels, here.)

I don’t know about you, but I think Statham is a good choice (assuming he can muster up a solid American accent, natch). He’s got a good look for the part, and he does well with characters who aren’t especially talkative. The Transporter and Crank movies are known for their wall-to-wall action, but Statham breathes a lot of life into those two characters.

Taylor Hackford is going to direct the movie, apparently. Not sure what to make of that. He’s had an, um, varied career: An Officer and a Gentleman, Against All Odds, The Devil’s Advocate, Delores Claiborne, and a handful of (deservedly) lesser known or less successful films. He wouldn’t be my first choice to make a Parker movie, but since when am I a Hollywood producer?

I’ll be following this story with breathless anticipation. Keep you posted.



About the Author:

David Pitt lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to reviewing for Booklist, he writes a monthly column about paperback fiction and nonfiction for the Winnipeg Free Press. He has contributed to The Booklist Reader since 2010.

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