Best Served Cold – on Film

May 30th, 2023

Pleased to say news just dropped over at Deadline Hollywood of a potential forthcoming film of Best Served Cold.

I’d love to say a lot more about it, but for the time being I can’t say much that’s not in that article. The headlines:

It’s set up at Skydance. I wrote the script. Tim Miller (director of Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate, as well as the main force behind Love, Death and Robots) is directing. Rebecca Ferguson is down to play Monza.

Tim and I have been working together on bringing the First Law to the screen in one form or another (among other things) for over a decade, and believe me when I say there is no bigger fan of, or bigger champion for, these books.

Now, before anyone gets too excited, take it from a man who has been hurt often in the past, there’s plenty of shit that can go wrong, and it’s never a sure thing till you’re sat there watching the opening credits and, hey, maybe not even then.

But for now let us revel in this promising step…

Posted in announcements, film and tv, news by Joe Abercrombie on May 30th, 2023.

57 comments so far

  • Andrew Groves says:

    This is incredibly exciting! I wish you all the best in this endeavor and have my fingers crossed that this can grace our screens. Your books are incredible and I’m currently in the middle of BSC. Absolutely loving it.

  • Holy COW says:

    Wow, so excited! A great decision to start with Best Served Cold. Probably the best entry point into the world in movie form. Now all we can wonder is whether a certain troubled northman will find their way to the set for a small but meaningful role…

  • David says:

    I, for one, am super excited and I won’t be able to contain it. I’ve already posted the announcement link all over my social media. There’s no going back now. With luck, the film will do so well that we MUST have the First Law books on film. Perhaps Shivers can be the bridging character.

    Can’t wait to see the film develop and see the cast announcements.

  • Stephen says:

    Oh she’s good, I can see her as Munza. Well good luck Joe, it’ll be half a decade at fest to get to the screen.

  • Storm in the High Pl says:

    I’m shittin right now!

    Congrats Joe! Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly.

  • Michael says:

    Great news, let’s hope it comes to fruition, is as good as I know it can be, and spawns a slew of dirty First Law TV series and movies. The future is bright.

  • The Hairy Bear says:

    That’s sweet! Congratulations!!

    I was thinking that once you mentioned that if you had to write BSC again, perhaps you’d reduce Monza’s hit list from seven to six or five. Have you chosen to do that for the script? Or you have decided to keep all of the original “victims”?

  • Marc says:

    AWESOME!!! I mentioned it to my wife two days ago… why haven’t those incredible books been adapted for the silver screen?! It truly feels like a dream come true! I sincerely hope everything goes smoothly for you. I am eagerly anticipating the adaptation! Whenever I read your books, it’s as if a movie plays in my mind. I often find myself contemplating how certain scenes could be filmed, especially the profound thoughts of characters like Cosca or Glokta. If you’re in need of a 193cm/100kg guy in his mid 30s, who loves reenacting, is skilled in fencing, and has some acting experience, feel free to reach out to me! I would be thrilled to be a part of it!

  • Tobias says:

    Hey Joe!
    So happy for you (and myself ;)) that you feel at least good enough talking about it. Let’s enjoy the great news for now and worry later if everything works out ^^
    I loved Tim Millers work so far and think he has the right vibe to get this Masterpiece to the big screen!

  • Trine says:

    My favourite book ever!!! Omg I hope this makes it!! <3

  • marco says:

    Congratulations, Joe!

    Well deserved.

  • Tony says:

    “I’m one of those … you’ve got a word for it, don’t you?”


    “It was a different one I had in mind.”


    “That’s the one. I’m an optimist.”

    “How’s it working out for you?”

    “Not great, but I keep hoping.”

    “That’s optimists. You bastards never learn.”

    …call me an optimist, then; because I’ve been on the brink waiting for a story from “The First Law” universe to get an adaptation!

    And “Best Served Cold” is the perfect contender…a gripping, self-contained revenge tale.

    And if this allows the other books to get adaptations…imagine seeing Glokta…the Bloody Nine…Gorst…the Lioness of Hoskopp & her “partner”…Whirrun…!

  • Dennis Henley says:

    Really exciting news. Hope it’s the start of the Joe Abercrombie show and that we’ll see more First Law books adapted.

    John le Carré often appeared in adaptations of his works. Joe, will you have a cameo? (Think Alfred Hitchcock and/or Stan Lee.)

    Got my fingers crossed (explains the typos) and am wishing you all the best.

  • Ryan says:

    One of my favorite actresses playing one of my favorite characters in one of my favorite books adapted by one of my top 47 favorite authors? I’m in!

  • Andy says:

    I’d still prefer a TV series (ideally produced by HBO) of the First Law trilogy – but I’ll take what I can get. For now.

  • keith wikle says:

    Best Served Cold is my favorite of the books you’ve written so far. It might be that it has THE MOST Nicomo Cosca.

    And therefore, the casting of Cosca is so key. Someone charming, flashy, showy, theatrical, self-important and equal parts scummy, conniving and mischievous.

    My name is Nicomo Cosca, famed solider of fortune, and I am here for dinner.

  • Dan says:


    I know nothing’s for sure yet but I’ve been casting and directing scenes in my head for years. I can’t imagine I’m alone in this.

    That’s great talent you’ve enlisted so far and I’m wishing all y’all the best.

  • Scott says:

    It would be interesting to read who people would like for the roles. Especially your opinions Joe, that’s basically what we are all here for anyway.

    My 2 cents.

    Monza: Rebecca Furgeson? I’m really enjoying her role in Silo but cant help thinking a more Latin type actor would suit the role.

    Shivers: Alan Ritchson from Jack Reacher. Northern looks, just add long hair and dirt. Be good to see those handsome features ruined.

    Friendly: Andy Serkis. Could portray the autistic Friendly perfectly.

    Castor: Jeff Goldblum. Can pull off arrogant like no one can.

    Cosca: Jack Black. Cant trust him, cant help loving him. Could he tone down the funny and turn up the menace when needed?

    Shenkt: The irrepressible Mr Nick Cage.

    Now for some self indulgence my nomination to portray Glockta, if he were ever to grace our screens. Gary Oldman!

    This is fun, lets have your nominations.


  • Jakob says:

    I’m sorry, Joe, but I have every intention of getting too excited. In fact, I refuse to even acknowledge a single consideration for the slightest possibility that this isn’t happening. There is no longer any space left in my worldview to accommodate the very thought of this not being a thing that is going to happen. Should the inconceivable occur, then I will let that disappointment hit me with the full force of a Union flatbow, because that’s the kind of pain your books have taught me to love.

    Congratulations! I’m so excited for you!

  • Sophie says:

    I am so happy for you, Joe! I’m so excited to see these beloved characters on screen and for your fantastic story, characters, world, and wit to be shared with the rest of the world.

  • Joe Leonard says:

    Best Served Cold is my favorite novel of all time. It’s a master class of characterization, and takes the revenge novel concept to new heights. One thing I am interested to see is this: As the reader, we are given an intimate look into Monza. To the world she is beautiful and brutal. A tactical genius with a heart of iron. As the reader we get to see beneath the veil, and we learn her motivations, fears, and just how much she loved her little brother. I’m interested to see how the Grimfather approaches her character on film.

  • Chris says:

    Best Served Cold is still my favourite so far, so a worthy book to kick off the First Law world to a movie audience. Still sad the graphic novels didn’t continue after the first, any chance that might change?

  • Lain says:

    My favourite book out of the whole series got picked for going into film first, it`s like a dream come true. Some books are like they were made to be filmed, and I have always thought “Best Served Cold” to be first class film material. It has it all – striking characters, engaging plot-twists, action, structure, and even the very feeling of the great heist films (you know, this stories where a gang of criminal masterminds gathers to pull off some mind-blowing plan)…
    Can`t wait to see the final cast – Vitari, Nicomo and Caul most of all of course!

  • Wombat of Hoskopp says:

    My favourite book too, and I can imagine Rebecca Ferguson as Monza. As for Cosca, Arthur Daley meets Jack Sparrow: who can pull that off? I’d love to see Steven Pacey get a part, and why not that one?

  • Milko Camellini says:

    Amazing news!
    Only questions are:
    1. How are you guys going to fit all of that in just one movie?!?
    2. What kind of budget you will need to fit all of that in a movie?!?
    May luck be at your backs!

  • Tenesmus says:

    I liked that this was a stand-alone tome, even though there is enough meat to the story that many authors would have milked a trilogy out of it. This also now makes me wonder how it will be adapted as a movie. Will it be like Kill Bill: Vol.1 and Vol. 2? or just an over 3-hour pedal to the metal slaughter fest? Either way, take my money, and congratulations!

  • Jack donegan says:

    Hi I have been a big fan of yours Joe from the first law trilogy. I must say best served cold is my favorite book and think this would be a great one to start as a film.
    Rebecca furguso as monza.
    Would be perfect.
    Johnny Depp as cosca? I guess the only issue with this is it could be seen to much like jack sparrow.
    Gary Oldman as duke orso.
    Shivers Travis fimmell.
    Vitari as rosario dawson
    Ray Stevenson as friendly.
    Sean bean in the mix would be great? As morveer maybe?

    It’s gona be such a good film good luck and I look forward to hearing about the film.
    Cheers jack

  • An ambivalent fan says:

    My favorite book of the series! And probably the most self contained. I’m not going to get too excited though, because Hollywood’s track record of turning books I like into movies I like is not very good.

  • Costas says:

    Tim Miller is not the right person for Joe’s works.

  • Alex L says:

    Great news! I’ve already got so many casting choices in my headcanon, it sounds like an awesome project. Best of luck.

  • Shivers says:

    There are 32 comments on this page right now. If they do this right, in two years an average post on this site will have 100,000. The hard part of any movie / tv series is character and dialogue. Thats already being handed to the studio on a platter. I dont think Ive been this excited to see a movie in 10 years.

  • Tom B says:

    This is honestly the most excited I’ve been for a movie in years. Best Served Cold is such a glorious introduction to the world you’ve created – and folks love a good revenge-based lark. I’d love to see a series alongside a movie, but honestly anything Abercrombie on screen is a huge win in my eyes!

    Massive congratulations, Joe – well-deserved, and fingers-crossed it all goes well!

  • Michael Pea says:

    I agree with Joe. I will be cautious until I’m watching the film at a theater or at home. Although, it really should be a series on HBO or Netflix.

  • Alejandro says:

    Congratulations! Fingers (and toes) X’d for further progress. Rebecca Ferguson is a sublime actress – I’ve always had Rhona Mitra down as the quintessential Monza Murcato.

  • Nathan says:

    Promising and exciting news – congratulations, Joe. It’s brilliant to hear that you’ve written the script and you’ve got the support and involvement of a talented director who is a big fan of the books! Signing up Rebecca Ferguson, an excellent actor whose career is on an upward trajectory, is also encouraging news.

    Skydance do a lot of work with Netflix and Apple TV – possible avenues for the film release or a subsequent First Law trilogy adaptation? Wikipedia says Blur Studio are involved with the film, who I believe mostly get involved with animated stuff, does that mean we’re potentially not looking at a live action adaptation?

    As everyone is providing their Cosca dream casting, please check if Tony Dalton is available. I think he’d be perfect.

  • Scott says:

    How fast were the rights to the novel snapped up Joe? You wrote the script, did Tim have any input or different views on your direction?

    Classification ratings can have a huge bearing on films being greenlit. Your depictions of violence are very much R rated. Did you tone it down to be more palatable for audiences not used to your style? I certainly hope not.

    Looking forward to a huge helping of BSC on the silver screen.

  • Bradley says:

    This is brilliant news! Perfect casting!
    Please do consider Stephen Root as Castor Morveer, everytime I re-read I hear his voice!

  • Waylander says:

    Amazing news I’ve been telling friends they need to put your work into films for years. Great actress could be a great monza. Who will play shivers I love his character arc through your books. For me he is my fav character you have done so far. Oohhh and Nicomo to and friendly need some great casting to do it right.

  • AC says:

    Larry David as Rotsac Reevrom.

  • Susan says:

    Great news, good for
    you. Congratulations. Have always wondered what your stories would be like in films.
    It will take exceptional director/ actors to imprint your characters.

  • Malice says:

    Ferguson is great. From seeing her in Dune and Silo, she has the needed intensity and physicality to pull off Murcatto.

  • alexcelog says:

    Yesssss, finally! My sincerest kudos to the longterm captor/instigator of my fantastic wanderlust. The whole series somehow feels so close to ‘the real thing’ (i. e. FRPG) on an emotional invest scale, that it helps soothing the loss of the later.
    Most of the important things have been said before: series ‘d be better, HBO, etc. So all you get from me is some uncalled for wiseass casting advice:
    I cannot think of anyone better suited to play Cosca than Johnny Depp. Tom Hanks would be a great Morveer and Eddie Marsan seems kind of Friendly, doesn’t he!
    Best of luck for the road that lies ahead :]

  • Sergey says:

    How glad I was when I heard this news, it’s just beyond words!! I literally had goosebumps for a couple of weeks!
    I started getting acquainted with your work with this book, at that time I had no idea about the main trilogy, as a result I read absolutely all your books and stories, you are without a doubt my favorite author, I am insanely sorry that you decided not to publish your books in my country anymore:\
    With your permission, I will participate a little in a flash mob with dreamcast:
    Nikomo Cosca – Jonathan Pryce (The man who killed Don Quixote – here he’s just literally Cosca out of my head)
    Monza – Eva Green (300: Rise of an Empire)
    Vitari – Lena Headey, Rose Leslie or Jessica Chastain
    Orso – definitely Ian McShane
    Castor – definitely Jeff Goldblum
    Shivers – it’s very difficult here, someone like Alexander Ludwig or Alan Ritchson as suggested in the comments above

  • Ferdinand Kittlaus says:

    I’ll be first in line when the movie comes out!
    Not that it matters what I think, buuuuuuut….
    Sofia Boutella would be great as Monza, she’s got that exotic look, she can act and she can fuck shit up. I can definitely see her mutilating her enemies in the name of revenge!

    Cheers from the California!

  • Craig says:

    I honestly think this is your best book and love it to bits. My honest advice to you that wont matter is don’t let them butcher this like they did with Altered Carbon.

    Friendly the scary autist and Cosca being the real deal Jack Sparrow I love but if they try and make it all soft and squishy it will wreck it hard.

  • Huntertime says:

    Am i the only one who sees Johnny depp as the perfect Cosca? Nobody plays a drunk better than him.

  • Elizabeth H says:

    Henry Cavill for Logan Nine Fingers, please? I’d love to see him get the chance to be something more complicated than just the likable hero.

  • Neil M says:

    Good luck with the film process, you will need it, as you know.

    Heh at least you are tight with the director, lets hope you are still talking at the end 🙂 I am always amazed at the things that need to go right to end up with something that fulfils the image in ones head.

    Casting, script, direction, music etc etc. Anything slightly out of kilter and it’s often a mess.

    Do you know where it’s going to be shot and when (assuming at the time I write this it’s still a goer)? Does it have a “Project” name 🙂 So, if the supporting artist call comes out, I know what to look for ?

  • Morgan Hale says:

    This is lovely news, the casting of Shivers will be the most important issue I can foresee as he’s the crossover character should the First Law be picked up by someone (fingers crossed HBO). Any narration should be done by Steven Pacey or if that is not an option, his Morveer was excellent, not quite as good as his Glokta but still worthy.

  • Adam C says:

    I agree with others in this thread that BSC is the perfect cinematic entry point for your work, Joe. This is so damned exciting. Ferguson is an excellent choice for Monza!

    My Dream Cast –

    Depp for Cosca
    Nic Cage for Castor
    Maya Hawke for Day
    Anya Taylor Joy for Shylo

    Bill Skarsgard for Shivers (He’d nail that pie-in-the-sky, well-intentioned early phase. And once you’ve thrown that metal orb in his face, there’d be no one better to handle the descent into creepy madness)

    Alexander Skarsgard for The Bloody Nine! I know he’s not in this story, but I’m just having fun. He could pull off the brooding, pensive, darkly philosophical swagger, the charismatic humor, and the berserker energy all to equal effect!

  • David D says:

    You have to be realistic… and take my money!

  • Johan says:

    I just checked in on the website today and learned about this! Awesome! Best served cold is my favourite eh what you call it, DLC for a lack of my english words, of the main books! Hope the hollywood strikes get sorted soon and we will have it soon :). Keep up the good work mr Abercrombie! Love your books.

  • Demi says:

    I am really looking forward to this.
    I can’t help but think of who will take on the roles of Nine Fingers, Friendly, Gorst and Cosca. Someone mentioned Johnny Depp or Jack Black for Cosca. This is all so exciting! Congratulations Joe!

  • Leigh says:

    ✨️Oh!! Please…….if only! Such a brilliant idea! Any updates? 1st Feb, 2024? The audiences are there, just waiting for the right film. This story is a fitting choice.
    The graphic novels of “The Blade Itself” are a brilliant addition to the series giving you a beautifully coloured story board. Which brings the story to life!…Lol! Is it being used to get them on board? Hope so….
    It would be astounding to experience the story in this format. It is a wonderfully dark twisted tale with characters that are perfectly matched. I have thoroughly enjoyed the entire series and have recommended the books to everyone! It would be astonishing to see this on the screen and I deeply hope that it comes to fruition.
    It will help to open the floodgates for all the other wonderful stories in this genre.
    Hopes and wishes ✨️⏳️

    P.S.Win the lottery, Lottery Art’s Funding(UK), Art’s Council(UK), Online Fund it, Private Investors….lol!

  • aviddiva says:

    Just finished the Age of Madness trilogy. Wanted to see if there’s more to come and I see a movie in development for Best Served Cold!! This is so exciting

  • Wallace Sidhrée says:

    Nine fingers crossed, but you have to be realistic about these things…

  • Mark Berg says:

    Can’t help but come back to this page every now and then because of how excited I am for more first law content. Also loving the casting suggestions I’ve seen on here. I know we’re just talking about BSC at this point but I pray I’ll get to see Bryan Cranston play Bayaz at some point in my life.

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