Oscar-winning producer Lili Fini Zanuck is set to direct the film adaptation of John O'Brien's 1996 novel Assault on Tony's, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Assault on Tony's is about to start casting with the goal of entering production by year's end.
The dark novel by O'Brien, the author of Leaving Las Vegas, revolves around five white patrons who are barricaded in a bar called Tony's for 17 days while a race riot rages. The drunks continue to drink, but things get intense when the liquor supply begins to dwindle. Power struggles ensue, rationing begins and the alcoholics descend into their own chaos as the violence escalates outside.
Josh Campbell optioned the novel and wrote the original adaptation, which Erik Bergquist rewrote to reflect the current climate. The riots now have more to do with today's economic crisis, and the 17 days have been reduced to three.
Moreover, the five bar patrons are now three white men and two black, one of whom has never visited the establishment before and does not drink. The waitress role has been expanded.
"Everybody responds differently in a crisis, and these characters were very compelling to me," she said. "It's dark, it's funny. I mean, you've got four drunk guys in a bar. It's basically the human condition how people respond in a non-heroic situation."
The novel was published posthumously after O'Brien's 1994 suicide. His sister, author Maureen O'Brien, discovered the first draft after her brother's death and made some contributions.