Monday, January 30, 2012


Action...roll cameras!

Elmore Leonard has scored another big hit with Justified, thanks to a Canadian writer. The Sunday Book section of the Ottawa Citizen, reports that the adaptation of Leonard's short story, now in its third season and airing in Canada tonight on SuperChannel, is just that, a hit. And Leonard credits Graham Yost with what "might just be the most incisive screen adaptation of any of his works". Good for Yost, and Leonard. It must be great to have one's words make it to any screen, little or big.

That is, when the writer is pleased with the end result. Often that rests on the choice of actors to play the lead roles. And quite often, the authors don't comment on that aspect. But the readers/viewers do.

We were having just that conversation last night and it revolved around what worked best -- reading the book before seeing the movie or vice versa? I have to admit, I was a huge Janet Evanovich fan when the Stephanie Plum books first came out. I knew if I wanted action and downright sexy scenes, laughing all the way through the book, she was my author. So now that the first novel is a movie, will I go and see it? I may wait for the TV version mainly because Katherine Heigl is no way close to the Stephanie Plum in my imagination for 17 books (yes, I've read them all, although have been skimming the later ones).

When I watched Gail Bowen's Joanne Kilbourn transformed on a series of made-for-TV movies, Wendy Crewson wasn't my visualization of the character either. But there were so made changes to the original books -- location, profession, back-story -- that I watched them as something new, and Thoroughly enjoyed them.

I wonder how Maureen Jennings feels about Yannick Bisson playing Murdoch? They got it right with Saul Rubinek as Benny Cooperman. On the foreign screens, they really missed the mark with Henning Mankell's wonderful Wallander books but hey, Kenneth Branagh is so much fun to watch. I haven't yet seen the American version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, so no comment there.

With so many Canadian crime novels optioned for the TV screen, either a movies or series, (and there are several although most won't come to fruition if past practices are an indicator)...I'd be curious to know how these authors feel about turning their babies over to a screenwriter and to a producer who will decide on the embodiment of the main character.

But back to last night's discussion -- would you rather read the book first or see the movie first?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime

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