City crime writer wins top film contract

Tony Black is hopeful Dougray Scot will play the lead in the film version of Long Time Dead
Tony Black is hopeful Dougray Scot will play the lead in the film version of Long Time Dead
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A CRIME writer from Edinburgh has struck a deal to have one of his books turned into a high-profile film.

Tony Black will link up with director Richard Jobson for a big screen version of Long Time Dead, the latest in a series featuring popular character Gus Dury.

And they are hopeful Hollywood actor Dougray Scott – who has starred in Jobson’s Edinburgh-set films before – will take the leading role.

It is the first time Black, 39, a former Evening News sub-editor, has had his work adapted to film, and is another significant milestone in his blossoming career. No timescale has been placed on the project, but it is understood Jobson will begin work once he has completed his current film.

Black, who has recently returned to the Capital following spells in Australia and Dublin, said: “He’s followed the series from the beginning and said this was the one that really caught his eye.

“I’m completely confident he will do a good job of it – he portrayed Edinburgh brilliantly in New Town Killers.

“Nothing has been signed yet but he is hopeful of getting Dougray Scott to play the main role, having worked with him before.

“He’s a really respected film-maker.”

Although he has written for years, Mr Black was only first published in 2007, and has already become a crucial figure in Scotland’s “Tartan Noir” scene.

But unlike many authors, he vowed not to interfere when it came to the production of the film. “I can’t speak for other writers but I’m not at all precious about my work,” he said.

“In some ways I’ve done my bit – he’ll now look at it and we’ll bounce some ideas back and forward.

“It’s up to him, I appreciate it’s a different skill – I’m not looking for someone to recreate the exactness of the page.”

Black recently launched his latest book, Truth Lies Bleeding, at the Edinburgh Book Festival to great acclaim.

Long Time Dead, which was released last year, features former journalist and alcoholic Gus Dury as the central character as he becomes a reluctant crime investigator.

“I’ve never had aspirations to be a screenwriter,” he added.

“In this industry you get a lot of talk and people coming up to you saying they want to do this and that, but more often than not it gets kicked into the long grass.

“But this is really exciting – it will be good for my sales and profile of course, and I’m delighted to be working with someone of Richard Jobson’s calibre. It’s really flattering.”

amorris@edinburghnews.com