He’s played a con man, a magician, and the World’s Greatest Detective, so playing a private eye should be no sweat for Christian Bale. And Variety reports he’s considering doing just that in Fox’s upcoming adaptation of The Deep Blue Goodbye, a film with the potential to launch an entire series with Bale as its midcentury Marlowe.

Bale has reportedly agreed to play Travis McGee, the hero of John D. MacDonald’s series of color-coded pulp novels about the shadowy side of the Sunshine State in 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s Florida. Like many fictional detectives, McGee has a taste for women and trouble, but unlike the rest, he lives on a houseboat, the Busted Flush, docked off a marina in Fort Lauderdale. In the novels, McGee has carved out a clever niche for himself: He works as a “salvage consultant” who recovers the stolen (or otherwise misappropriated) property of others when the law won’t (or can’t) get involved.


McGee has previously been played on screen by Rod Taylor, in the movie Deep Amber, and Sam Elliott, in the TV movie simply titled Travis McGee. This new film version will be based on The Deep Blue Good-by, the first book in the series, with 3:10 To Yuma and The Wolverine’s James Mangold attached to direct. The film is still in its early development stages, with Leonardo DiCaprio—who was once attached to star, in a version to be directed by Oliver Stone—and Jennifer Davisson-Killoran and Amy Robinson serving as producers.