Christian Bale is in early talks to star as Travis McGee in The Deep Blue Good-by for 20th Century Fox. The adaptation is based on John D. MacDonald's 1964 novel, the first of 21 books that featured the Travis McGee character.

The studio doesn't have an official offer out to the actor yet, but he has agreed to come on board, with an offer to come very soon. Leonardo DiCaprio was attached to play Travis McGee back in March 2013, but now he will only produce with his Appian Way Productions partner Jennifer Davisson Killoran.

Travis McGee is a salvage consultant based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, living aboard a houseboat dubbed The Busted Flush. The Deep Blue Good-by centers on Travis meeting a battered woman named Lois, as he tries to track down her abusive boyfriend, which proves to be more difficult than he had imagined.

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James Mangold is directing from a script most recently revised by Scott Frank. Dennis Lehane, Kario Salem and Dana Stevens previously worked on the script. It isn't known when production may begin.

Christian Bale will next be seen in the 20th Century Fox biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings, which hits theaters this December.