Pair to lead crime drama prequel.

Variety reports that John Hawkes (‘The Surrogate,’ ‘Martha Marcy May Marlene’) and Yasiin Bey (aka rapper turned actor Mos Def) are set to lead writer-director Dan Schechter’s crime drama ‘Switch.’

An adaptation of the Elmore Leonard’s 1978 book ‘The Switch,’ the film will serve as a prequel to Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Jackie Brown,’ which itself was based on Leonard’s ‘Rum Punch.’ Hawkes and Bey (‘Dexter,’ ‘The Italian Job’) will be playing younger versions of Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson’s respective characters Louis Gara and Ordell Robbie.

Set 15 years before ‘Jackie Brown,’ the story “follows career criminals Gara and Robbie as they team up to kidnap the wife of a corrupt Detroit real estate developer. When the husband refuses to pay the ransom for his wife’s return, the ex-cons are forced to rethink their plan, and the angry housewife uses the duo to get her revenge.”

Variety adds that Schechter adapted Leonard’s novel without the author’s permission. The filmmaker then sent his finished screenplay to Michael Siegel, Leonard’s longtime rep, to share with the author. After reading the script, the author and Siegel granted Schechter the rights to make the film, and also came on board as producers.