Films based on bestsellers aren’t new, but if it’s based on a book by the king of mysteries, Jeffrey Archer, who has topped the global bestseller list 15 times, it’s news. Archer’s 2009 novel, Paths of Glory, that tells the story of an untold hero, who, Archer believes, conquered Mt Everest before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, will soon be made into a full length feature film.
“Columbia Pictures is making the movie, and Damian Lewis or Tom Hardy will play the role of the protagonist, George Mallory,” confirms the writer himself, who was in town as part of the annual Landmark Jeffrey Archer Tour. So, will parts of the film be shot in India? “Yes, they might, since the story has many Indian references, like Kolkata, North Bengal... and mention of characters like the incredible coolies of Indian hills, who bear 50-60 kilos on their backs!” says the 72-year-old, whose own life has been quite a thriller.
He’s been an athlete, a politician, gone bankrupt, and been in prison before bouncing back to life as a best-selling author. So, is he planning to write his own story someday? “My latest book, Best Kept Secret is quite autobiographical. Like, Harry is a bit of me, Emma’s based on my wife, Mary,” says Archer, as he expresses his disapproval on the writer of this piece being married and yet not wearing that “red dot” on her forehead. “I thought they still wear that in India,” he scorns. Other cliches, he doesn’t entertain. Asked about his favourite Indian food, he says, “I am an author... My job is to write, not EAT!”