'X-Files' creator to direct British thriller

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "The X-Files" creator Chris Carter is set to make his feature directing debut with a movie based on Philip Kerr's sci-fi thriller "A Philosophical Investigation."

Set in the near future, "Investigation" tells the story of a government-run genetic testing unit that assists law enforcement agencies in listing and tracking down those with a predisposition to violence. A female Scotland Yard inspector is drawn into a cat-and-mouse game when a sociopathic computer expert finds that he's on the list and decides to protect the rest of society by killing the others.

The project is set up at Paramount Pictures, where Mace Neufeld ("The Sum of All Fears"), who has owned the rights to the novel for close to a decade, is producing with Carter and "X-Files" collaborator Frank Spotnitz. Carter and Spotnitz also will adapt.

"It is one of my passion projects, and they generally take a long time to get off the ground," Neufeld said.

Neufeld is hoping that this will be the first Kerr adaptation to make it to the big screen, even though rights to several of the author's other novels have been optioned. They include "A Five Year Plan," which was optioned by Tom Cruise's production company; "Gridiron," which the now-defunct Propaganda optioned; and "Esau," which Disney optioned for Jerry Bruckheimer in the mid-'90s.

"Most Kerr books have sold for films. None have been made into a film so far," Neufeld said.

Carter is also adapting the book "The World of Ted Serios," which he intends to direct for Miramax's Dimension Films. Neufeld's upcoming films include the romantic thriller "Asylum" for Paramount Classics, starring Natasha Richardson and Ian McKellen, and "Sahara," starring Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz and Steve Zahn. Both are slated for a 2005 release.



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