The Blade Itself to be Filmed!

March 11th, 2008

Yes, you read that right. No lesser light of Hollywood than Ben Affleck is due to take the director’s chair in a dramatisation of The Blade Itself. Brilliant news, one would’ve thought? So am I dancing around all over the house, or rolling about in a bath of 1,000 dollar bills today?

Well, not so much.

The tiny problem?

The book that’s being adapted isn’t Joe Abercrombie’s ctically-acclaimed edgy debut fantasy, The Blade Itself, but Marcus Sakey’s critically-acclaimed edgy debut thriller, The Blade Itself.

Say it with me now…


Still, you’ve got to look on the bright side. I suppose, if the film does get made, there are bound to be people who mistakenly buy my book looking for his.

Mmmmmmm … mistake royalties … there’s no fruit sweeter than the one earned by accident and completely undeserved.

Posted in news by Joe Abercrombie on March 11th, 2008.

52 comments so far

  • Andrew says:

    There is another downside to this.. What if I or another loyal (Abercrombie) The Blade Itself fan mistakenly go to see the film and Sakey gets mistake royalties!

    A follow on from this might be that we feel that gritty crime novels are more our thing than gritty fantasy and purchase Sakey’s new novel rather than “Best Served Cold” πŸ™‚

    I think you need to get a film deal sharpish so that equilibrium between The Blade Itself and The Blade Itself is restored!

  • TK42ONE says:

    Clearly Affleck likes screwing you in an uncomfortable place. And I’m not talking about the back of a Volkswagen.

  • Jon R says:

    Phew! There’s still chance for me yet πŸ˜‰

  • edash says:

    Would you really want Ben Affleck directing the movie of your book? Surely you’d prefer the movie to be, like, you know, good.

  • andrew,
    all writers deserve mistake royalties. Even ones who steal other people’s titles.

    No comment.

    jon r,
    yes, yes there is.

    Well, my first call would probably be to del Toro or Jackson, but let’s face facts, authors don’t get to make the call, and Ben Affleck’s money is every bit as green as anyone else’s…

  • JDP says:

    Now is clearly the time to buy up all the ‘thebladeitself’ urls and link them to your book on amazon, eh?

  • Jostein says:

    You know Joe, you should have tried to go for a critically-acclaimed edgy debut fantasy, rather than simply a ctically-acclaimed edgy debut fantasy. If so, Matt Damond might have been willing to direct a movie based on it.

  • Marcus Sakey says:

    Thanks for the fine cursing! I’ve always wanted someone bellowing my name to the heavens, fists in the air, voice tearing with hate. Makes me feel all gooey and warm inside.


    May many an accidental royalty dollar flow your way, brother.

  • jdp,
    with what would I buy them?

    so thid is wot it’s cum to, is it? Having the pisd taken out od me fo rtypoes?

    Title-Thief Sakey,
    You dare to enter here? You shall taste of my righteous fury. Now DIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

    But seriously, thanks for stopping by, congratulations on the deal, and best of luck with the road to adaptation. Couldn’t have happened to a better titled book, I’m sure. When it comes to a cinema near me, my first mistake royalties will be buying me a seat in the front row. Possibly also a small popcorn, if I’m feeling dangerous.

    May many a hard-earned merchandising and tie-in dollar flow your way, brother.

  • Marcus Sakey says:

    Ahh, dollars to donuts they change the title for the screen anyway. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the kind thoughts between lightning bolts.

  • Tom Kirk says:

    Joe, I love your books! I have read The First Law Trilogy 5 times now! And its still as good as the first time I read it!

    I have to ask, although you may not know the answer anyway, but do you think there will ever be a chance of this Trilogy becoming a Film Trilogy?

    I think that would be totally awesome, I really think this could be made into a truely wonderful film! Alot of other books I have read havo also been very good, but been ruined by a film (e.g Da Vinci Code, although still good film) but I really think this would be so cool!

    Whatever you do Joe, keep the books interlinked! Would be awesome to read about Glokta in Gurkul!!

    Tom, Manchester, UK

  • PureKaos says:

    I only recently read The First Law Trilogy, enjoying the depth of characters and story that I have not been dragged into for quite a while…

    I would love to see this epic trilogy make the transition from script to screen, but dread it being done incorrectly – the tiniest oversight could drastically ruin the flow of information, misinformation and disinterestation of the story… Hmm, think I just gave birth to a word…

    Have to say Joe, if it can be done – make sure you have, at the very least, some control over what is 'Adapted'

    Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading more of your fine works.

    Kenny Cannon, UK

  • Anonymous says:

    I have also been spending unhealthy amounts of time thinking about how good a film version of the the first law could be. I've been thinking about the casting too. Of course Peter Jackson would be sweet, but you would absolutely have to be co-director. You know it makes sense Joe.

  • wonkybowels says:

    if i had 1 wish….i’d wish for more wishes. and then YOU’D ALL BOW BEFORE ME AND MY MANY WISHES!!!!! but since i don’t even have that first wish, i’ll use one of my hopes; i hope your epic pros are never turned into feature films. let these wonderful stories and characters be left to the written word, the page, and limits of our own minds. is also feel this way about the works of Patrick Rothfuss.
    -tolerant of the idea of dairy, but not so much with how it leaves me humbled, humiliated, and unheroic.

  • Megan says:

    Ok, wait a moment, there is one thing that i don’t understand. I read on the Wiki, that Ben Affleck bought the film rights. But then i found out, that i saw an wrong article about an another Blade Itself. This book is a crime thriller by Marcus Sakey. So… Which Blade Itself will they do?

  • Megan says:

    Oh… i found it. Amd i wish the same to Affleck and Sakey…
    Go the hell and i greet yours mother…

  • Gary says:

    you should phone people up and see if they will direct it, and i dont mean random people,i mean directors or actors or anyone who can do movies lol. we NEED to see your books in movies because they are the best books i have ever read, and i have read a lot

  • Gary says:

    but i would suggest one major thing to do if the blade itself ever does get filmed, try and get whoever plays logen ninefingers to play another character like caul shivers as it wouldnt ruin any surprises whenever logen returns

  • Isaac says:

    Damn! Found your site off a google search, got real excited till i read the actual post πŸ™

    Anyway, I relly do hope you do get that call someday m8. Believe me, I’ll be the first in line at the theater lol πŸ˜€

  • Betty Wooster says:

    OK just so we’re all on the same page, I feel I must go on record that it ought to be Tim Roth playing Glotka. Please, please, please.

  • Robin Tricker says:

    I think Tom Cruise should play Thunderhead. If he can be cast as 6″5′ JackΒ Reacher I’m sure he could handle it.

  • GaryB says:

    Loved the book … as a kind of pointless cut-em up with lots of humor.

    Maybe, bit of creative editing, we could combine the two blade stories and film that? πŸ™‚

    Anyhow, for every “we’re going to film that”, about 1/10 actually sees the light … of the digital projector bulb.


  • Joy says:

    Oh! I’m disappointed was hoping to be able to watch the First Law after reading and loving it

  • Brandon Nava says:

    I was almost happy. Damn I want a book for this trilogy

  • Marius says:

    I hope they make the trilogy to a movie. If they did i would think that these people had been perfect for the rolls:

    – Glokta (Kevin Spacey)
    – Jezal (Ryan Gosling)
    – Logen Ninefingers (Hugh Jackman or Mickey Rourke or maybe Sylvester Stallon)
    – Black Dow (Tom Hardy)
    – Bayaz (Patrick Stewart)
    – Ferro (Halle Berry or Zoe Saldana)

    Dont know these yet:
    – West
    – Bethod
    – Threetres
    – Dogman
    – Tul Duru
    – Grim

    Comment say what you think about that cast.

  • Marius says:

    Heres the complett list of the crew i would choose to play the roles. Please check it out and comment.

  • Markus says:

    yeah after the succsess game of thrones we can all hope there will be more REAL fantasy in tv cinema.
    really hope hbo does make the effort of putting abercrombies books first law etc in a tv series also.
    i mean it would suit perfect: this could also be hbos new nr1 series after game of (provided they make the effort)
    check out this and send it to hbo and other producers

  • jimbo says:

    affleck wht a nutbag ! we all know if they made the books into a film it would be shit cos lets face it they would cast some idiot like tom cruise as logen and just generally fuck over a really good story so im not sad abt it at all ! cheers for writing such epic stories joe keep them comin cos it only takes me a day to read em so chop chop lol !

  • Rob says:

    Sand dan Glokta = Robert Knepper
    Bayaz = Anthony Hopkins

  • Tobias says:

    How about crowdfunding? At least we could try it, right? πŸ˜‰

  • Debs DiGiorgio says:

    That was mean, ya know, your fans want to see this as a movie, too. If this other movie comes out, I will direct my friends to the First Law Series and tell them it’s a real story! I usually read classics, in fact I think you are the only modern fiction author that I actually recommend. “Read Bronte, Verne, C.S. Lewis, Tolkien or Joe Ambercrombie,” that’s what I say. Thanks for giving us such a grand adventure & I hope it’s still a hit 200 years from now.
    P.S. After the movie, a ride at Universal Studios would be welcomed.

  • Rob says:

    crowdfunding, count me in.

  • Joe G. says:

    For about 5 seconds i got excessively excited.

  • Nick M. says:

    @Joe G… tell me about it! ha… Great books though… just got threw the second and I was thinking about how the characters would be portrayed.

  • Josean Quijano says:

    When I fine tune my cinema skills, I promise The First Law BY yourself will be where I look towards! To be honest, a great director, other than myself of course :), would be Quentin Tarantino, which I think you would agree. Do you agree lol? Paul Thomas Anderson would also be superb I think… the dialogue would be perfect for Quentin and the themes and settings would be perfect for Paul Thomas And. If this doesn’t come to past in the coming years, I will be here to work alongside you haha in creating a masterpiece of a film ( trilogy or miniseries, and if a miniseries, HBO )!

  • fabian says:

    Nonono… Sand Dan Glokta should be played by Jeremy Irons.. he has the voice, the stature, and his rage mode would be glorious… Jeremy Irons.. that’s his role.

  • Kathleen says:

    I am all for movies as long as you keep cranking out the books.

  • Daniel says:

    Danny Trejo = The Bloody Nine. Jude Law = Luthar. John Goodman = Bayaz. Christopher Lee = Arch Lector.Giovani Ribisi = Dogman.

    Casting. What? Like it’s hard.

  • Matt Moran says:

    TBH it’d be far better done as an HBO style series, a la Game of Thrones – and it looks like they’ll be done with GoT in a few more years so, time to get pitching to them, perhaps? πŸ™‚

    I’d cast Sean Bean as Logen, because he dies so often in series like this that everyone would be expecting him to die, and then when he says to himself “Still alive! Still alive!” it’d be all the more poignant.

  • Jason R. O'Brien says:

    I should’ve read this full article before getting excited lol

  • Paul says:

    I would also prefer an HBO style series! WE NEED ONE. It could be even bigger than GOT

  • I SO want to see Sand & Logen on film. Please… how do we bring attention to the property in order to get it started?

    Director? Ed Zwick!! He’d do it beautifully.

  • Dogman: Iwan Rheon
    Black Dow: Velibor Topić
    Three Trees: Brendan Gleeson
    Yoru Sulfer: Brad Dourif
    Collem West: Richard Roxburg
    Jezal dan Luthar:

  • Joel Orsatti says:

    Huge fan of yours here, Mr. Abercrombie. I can’t say enough about how much I have enjoyed all of your work over many readings.

    I do so love the casting game, too.

    Logan: Hugh Jackman
    Glotka: Sam Riley
    Luthar: Austin Butler
    Bayaz: Patrick Stewart
    Dow: Robert Carlyle

    I have the rest too but these five give an outline of the acting quality I would want to see.

    Keep writing!

  • Adam says:

    Well I was keen up until you mentioned Ben Affleck. If there was ever an overblown piss poor director/actor that was sure fire to ruin a franchise then he would be it.
    He’s busy destroying Dennis Lehane’s back catalogue at the moment and is proving to be the worst Batman yet. And I include Clooney in that.
    Fear not Joe, some decent director is bound to come along and take up the mantle soon. I loved the Blade Itself series. The Half a King series wasn’t great though if I’m honest, first book ok, couldn’t finish the second. But never mind, Blade Itself more than makes up for that.

  • […] First Law series heading for the big screen (through no lack of wishful thinking here, here, and a step towards visualisation with the First Law comic here), we’ve […]

  • saul timothy says:

    Well, I have to be honest and say I’m glad its not being made into a film.
    Fair enough, such an attitude wont make you Mr Abercrombie, a gazzilionaire, but such perfect things as the Blade itself trilogy, should never have the festering fingers of Hollywood producers all over it. I feel grubby even thinking about it.
    There was a reason why the late lamented Sir Pratchett held out against the barrage of film offers over the years.

  • Black Jon says:

    I really don’t know about logen. I keep thinking Hugh Jackman but maybe that is because he has already played a character called logen albeit a pussy compared with the bloody nine. But, for Cosca you have to look at James Purefoy. He played Mark Anthony in HBO’s “Rome” he had a glint to his eye that would be perfect. He was also in “Ironclad”. He had me rolling in my seat in “Red Country” BTW Joe. Absolutely brilliant books. The sentimental side of the books would work brilliantly on film but I wonder if the comedy would need to be dumbed down? Either way I would be first in line to see it. I have now read the six books, some three times. Are there plans for more? I don’t know if you reply to these but I hope you read them Joe as I’m such a massive fan. I discovered these books on my own (which always makes them seem more special) my friends are not big readers! I could praise your characters for page after page so I’ll cut it short with a great big THANK YOU! For the adventures, the laughs and the tears.

    I’ve always wondered if the aesthetically beautiful Auda is inspired by Bath?, which I believe is your home town.

    All the best
    Black Jon.

  • Black Jon says:

    In all seriousness though, this new “The Blade Itself” to be directed by the mighty forehead of Affleck. Brother to the only man who talks while breathing in, will not affect you too much Mr Abercrombie. I always imagined a film or series being called “The First Law” with the subtitle “The Blade Itself” or “Before They’re Hanged”

    I know little of film but in case you missed my other post, James Purefoy has to be cast for Nicomo Cosca. I must have had a dream in which James was Cosca. Most fictional characters from books I picture in my mind are made up, but I always think of James Purefoy as Cosca. A pissed up, likable/hatable old merc, who is impossible to pin down. Or easy to. He is an excellent character. I love the effort put into creating your brilliant supporting cast Joe.

    I know I don’t need to say it but American accents ruin fantasy films/TV. Do not let them get away with it. Harding Grim will become Grime. Ferro will become Feero. European accents sound great, Scottish (would be good for logen, perhaps Gerrard Butler?) Irish and Welsh. Anything but American really. Why is that? I guess it’s all the “we got company” and “let’s get outta here”. I suppose it is the subliminal telling us the yank accent is a contradiction, these guys have swords! But also magic powers? I’d believe the first of the magi before I believe a medieval fantasy character with a californian accent.

    Black Dow has made me laugh, cry, cheer and bite my nails. I am seriously considering getting his name tattooed on my arm. Honestly. But, don’t tell Dow that I am. Please.

  • Black Jon says:

    When I first read the post putting Sean Bean forward as Logen I thought it was lazy thinking but actually he would be pretty good.

    It’s a shame Ray Winstone isn’t a better actor as he would make a good Bayaz I think. If he could rein on the “geezer” language. Is he too old for Black Dow or Rudd Three trees?

    Who do people like for Black Dow. Let’s be realistic (you have to eh) so far we have Tony Hopkins, jude law, Sean Bean and Hugh Jackman. May just have enough for a green screen at that rate. Dow is a tough one. There is an awful British football hooligan film called “Green Street” the lad called “Bother” or “Bovver” he would make a good Dow although he isn’t a big bloke. Or the elder brother in “Peaky Blinders” Paul Anderson. I think Tom Hardy would be a good Logen, he is a good enough actor to play luthar too I reckon.

  • Black Jon says:

    I know where you’re coming from Saul Timothy but I disagree. With the emergence of the ten part series’ attracting the top actors, books are getting a fair representation these days. Fantasy was often pretty flimsy film wise, before LOTR and then GOT. There is definite need for more good fantasy and I can think of no other series that would be as good as TFL.

  • Pavel says:

    Hi Joe.

    Many thanks for the truly funtastic funtasy books to get me through evenings on a remote island where I work now… away from home…

    To the point – I believe that your agent should be trying to get the deal with Netflix to make a show out of your stories… Some may disagree with me, but I think they’d do a better job than Hollywood would… Even though their adaptation of The Witcher wasn’t 100% satisfactory – at least they tried to stick to the story from the books. If they don’t get your books on screen I will cancel the subscription immediately. Your books deserve to be read and then watched by many.

    Keep up the good work mate and keep on banging those screenplay doors. If they won’t let you in – get in through the window πŸ˜‰

    Best regards and good luck

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