Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Shane Salerno, who teamed with Oliver Stone and Don Winslow to adapt Winslow’s novel Savages, has acquired film rights to the Steve Hamilton novel The Lock Artist. Published by St. Martin’s Minotaur imprint, the novel won the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Salerno will co-write the script with the author and produce the film. They will look to secure a filmmaker shortly.

The Lock Artist is about a young criminal who doesn’t say much but can open anything with a lock on it. Trained by an eccentric genius and owned by a Detroit mobster, he’s rented out as a lock picker for hire to a daring and outlandish gang of youth thieves pulling jobs in Los Angeles. His challenge is to get out before they get caught, and get back to the woman he loves. Salerno is following the same strategy as on Savages, which Universal releases July 6. He and Winslow developed the novel directly with Stone and then it was acquired by Universal in a multi-studio bidding battle. It took only 11 months from the original option deal until the film was in production, with Salerno exec producer. Salerno and Winslow also teamed to adapt Satori, another Winslow novel that Salerno sold to Warner Bros with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star. Salerno separately brought celebrated crime novelists Chuck Hogan and Winslow together to write a spec script that he’s producing. Salerno also wrote and directed a feature documentary on author J.D. Salinger, and that film will be shopped shortly for distribution. Hamilton was repped by Cine/Lit’s Mary Alice Kier and Anna Cottle on behalf of the Jane Chelius Literary Agency, while Salerno was repped by CAA and attorney Robert Offer.