Having faced Charlie Wilson's War, Mike Nichols is gearing up for his next film, and this time, there's a good dose of murder. Variety reports that he's going to direct Joe Penhall's adaptation of Patricia Highsmith's novel Deep Water. Set in an American suburb, the book reveals the life of a loveless marriage between Vic and Melinda -- one that survives only because Melinda is allowed to take on as many lovers as she pleases (as long as she doesn't pack up and go). However, then her lovers start to die.

Penhall, you might recall, adapted Cormac McCarthy's The Road, while Highsmith was the novelist behind Strangers on the Train and The Talented Mr. Ripley. But it's the magic of Nichols that really makes this appealing. While he's had a quite varied film career that extends from Catch-22 to dolphin assassins, Nichols has always excelled the most with dysfunction and drama -- from the early days of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Graduate to Closer and Charlie Wilson's War. Add some kills and thrills into the mix and this should be interesting.

For me, he's the director who helped warm me to the world of film criticism. I believe The Graduate was one of the first films where I began to notice how cinematic flairs make a film all the better. And hey, he's also the man who revealed a whole different depth to Julia Roberts with Closer.

But how about you? What's your favorite Nichols film?