Alex, 55, who owns Ideal Flooring Solutions in Musselburgh and Tranent’s Bronx Boxing Gym, says, “I sent out copies of the book to various people, just to get a feel for what they thought of it and perhaps a quote I could use.
“I sent Robert a book and after he’d read it he asked me to go to London to discuss it with him. It was very unexpected.”
A darkly comic crime thriller Hit Me tells the tale of boxer Barnabas Wild who hires a hit man to take him out after he is wrongly diagnosed with cancer.
With acute illness phobia, Wild can’t deal with facing the disease and persuades a gangster friend to help him organise his own gnarly demise.
Things take a turn when he discovers the hospital made a mistake and he spends the rest of the novel trying to evade the highly-skilled assassin.
“Robert and I had a four hour meeting in which he said he was very excited by the book,” explains Alex.
“And we found we just bounced of each other, it was easy to see that we could work together.”
Robert, best known for playing Adam Carnegie in the ITV drama The Royal, says, “Hit Me was a recommendation from a friend who knows Alex.
“He suggested I read it with an eye on what kind of film it might make.
“I felt quickly that the genre, colour of the characters and comedic inclination would make it an enjoyable movie.
“With a good script, this is a film I would go and see.”
The former James Gillespie’s pupil who also appeared as Robert Stevenson in the BBC docu-drama series Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, adds, “I love anything that promotes Scottish talent, culture and character. This does all of that.”
The pair will meet again in July with the aim of “thrashing out a treatment for a screenplay together,” says Alex.
“I’d already written a treatment, but Robert’s idea is that we start in the middle of the book and tell the story through flashbacks,” he adds.
Casting too has been discussed and while not at liberty to divulge the identities of those under consideration, Alex teases, “When Robert started mentioning names, I was blown away. I felt pretty overwhelmed because at that moment it started to become real, it was no longer just a dream.”
All going to plan the film will go into production in 2021 for release in 2022.