Garrett and his Character 7 production banner have optioned the rights to adapt Holly Watt’s acclaimed thriller novels “To The Lions” and “The Dead Line” for television, Variety has learned exclusively.
The two novels follow the life and adventures of globetrotting investigative journalist Casey Benedict, with “To the Lions” taking her into the North African desert to investigate a series of mysterious and disturbing incidents in a Moroccan refugee camp and a trail leading back to the highest echelons of Western society. In follow-up “The Dead Line,” Casey seeks the source of a desperate message secreted in clothing sold on the British high street. Her search takes her across the world to a Bangladeshi refugee camp, and into the heart of the wealthy, connected families who will be destroyed if her discovery is revealed.
“Holly’s characters flit effortlessly from the heady and clandestine world of the super-rich to the desolation of refugee camps, a crisis forgotten by a COVID-distracted world,” said Garrett. “She has created stories which are eerily prescient. They will make thrilling and provocative television.
Watts is a former investigative journalist for newspapers including the Guardian and the Telegraph, where she jointly ran the investigations team. Her career as a journalist saw her work undercover, working in wide range of countries such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Libya, Jordan and Lebanon.
“I can’t think of any better producer than Character 7 and Stephen Garrett to put Casey on screen for the first time,” said Watts. “Stephen’s knowledge of what makes a good espionage thriller and his ability to adapt one from novel to screen is exemplary. I can’t wait to see Casey’s stories come to life in a new medium.”
“Holly is a rare talent whose own edge-of-seat career has informed a uniquely topical twist on the espionage thriller and created an utterly compelling new hero in Casey Benedict. Although Casey’s role as a journalist adds an additional skillset and moral dimension to her adventures, she’s every inch the spy and will be an iconic addition to the canon,” Garrett added.