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Local author’s book to meet Fox TV

‘Sixth Sense’ director to take on ‘Pines’ as first television project

Blake Crouch works on his novel Pines in March at the Steaming Bean Coffee Co. The Durango author had no idea at the time that the story and its sequel would be chosen for a Fox television series to be directed by M. Night Shyamalan in 2014. Enlarge photo

Jerry McBride/Durango Herald

Blake Crouch works on his novel Pines in March at the Steaming Bean Coffee Co. The Durango author had no idea at the time that the story and its sequel would be chosen for a Fox television series to be directed by M. Night Shyamalan in 2014.

What’s in a name? For Durango author Blake Crouch, it is the kind of break that takes a writer to the mythical “next level.”

By almost any measure, Crouch has already achieved remarkable success in his field with book and online sales in the hundreds of thousands.

But last week, the news broke in Hollywood that blockbuster director M. Night Shyamalan will direct a limited-series event production of Crouch’s novel Pines for the Fox television network in 2014.

It would be Shyamalan’s first foray into television and a milestone in Crouch’s career. He said Thursday he is putting the finishing touches on the sequel, Wayward. The working title for the series is “Wayward Pines.”

Shyamalan is renowned for his direction on cinematic chillers such as “The Sixth Sense,” “Signs” and “The Village.”

It is a new venture for Fox as well; the limited-series format falls somewhere between a miniseries and a full TV season and has been successful for cable networks such as HBO, Showtime and USA Network.

Fox outlined the series in a Jan. 8 news release:

“‘Wayward Pines’ is an intense, mind-bending thriller evocative of the classic cult hit “Twin Peaks.” Secret Service agent Ethan Burke arrives in the bucolic town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, on a mission to find two missing federal agents.

But instead of answers, Ethan’s investigation only turns up more questions. What’s wrong with Wayward Pines? Each step closer to the truth takes Ethan further from the life he knew, from the husband and father he was, until he must face the terrifying reality that he may never get out of Wayward Pines alive.”

Crouch has been sitting on the news since December. He said it was a nice moment when Fox finally spilled the beans.

His agent, David Hale Smith, paired with film agent Angela Cheng Caplan to work their Hollywood connections throughout the fall to find a buyer. They went with veteran screenwriter Chad Hodge, who also is an executive producer. Hodge wrote a screenplay from Crouch’s novel. The rest will be what Crouch hopes is Hollywood history.

“M. Night loved it, and with that package in place, we were able to sell it to Fox,” Crouch said.

No word yet on what the cast will look like, or even where shooting will take place. Crouch said he expects those decisions to be announced later this year.

ted@durangoherald.com