I was pretty bummed when Roman Polanski ditched Pompeii, his planned epic about the city buried by a volcano in the 1st century CE. Fortunately, the Oscar-winning director of The Pianist has found another project to move ahead with. According to Variety, Polanski will next film an adaptation of Robert Harris' new novel, The Ghost. Presumably a much smaller film than Pompeii, which was also to be based on one of Harris' novels, The Ghost will center on a ghostwriter penning the memoirs of a former British prime minister. While working on the book, the guy uncovers secrets "that put his own life in jeopardy." Polanski said this is the political thriller he's been looking to direct for awhile, pointing out that the novel is full of suspense. Harris, however, makes it sound a little more quiet; he admitted the book mostly takes place in an oceanfront house during the middle of the winter, although he said this is "classic Polanski territory."

In many ways, this sounds like just another conspiracy movie, but I assume it won't be so simple coming from both Harris, who also wrote Fatherland and Enigma, and Polanski, who has made a career out of directing better-than-average thrillers. According to the synopsis in the book's Publishers Weekly review, The Ghost deals with more topical themes, such as al-Qaeda, and the former prime minister is described as being clearly modeled after Tony Blair. The review also mentions the book's cynical tone and gallows humor, which I hope translates well to the film version. The adaptation will be written by both Harris and Polanski and will be produced by The Pianist's Robert Benmussa and Alain Sarde. They expect to begin filming next fall.