Friday, May 4, 2007

Anthony Neil Smith's "Pyschosomatic"

Here's the lowdown on Anthony Neil Smith's debut novel, Psychosomatic:
“Because Lydia didn’t have arms or legs, she shelled out three thousand bucks to a washed up middleweight named Cap to give her ex-husband the beating of his life.”

But the beating turns to murder, and the murder into lust and desperation between Lydia and an underworld clean-up man. Meanwhile, overgrown frat boy car thieves take up cop killing as a side hobby. When these paths cross, a horror show of violence unfolds as they all slide into a hell of their own design, surrounded by the neon and noise of the casino strip on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Who should tell this story in a film adaptation? Here's what the author thinks about that:
Pyschosomatic as a movie? I wish.

It would have to be dirty, sweaty, like an old exploitation flick. I want the audience to leave feeling kinda sick (in a thrilling way).

So, Psy is a pulp "cartoon," for lack of a better word, that takes place on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The movie version would have to nod to the rebuilding after Katrina (I wrote it several years before), which means an even bleaker landscape -- paradise with debris spread all over.

You've got Lydia, a woman who lost her arms and legs and now has some fake limbs sculpted to resemble Jayne Mansfield's. She's manipulating poor bottom-rung criminal Allan, way overweight and for sale to the lowest bidder. When they run afoul of Terry and Lancaster, a brains-and-brawn theiving duo, everything goes to hell. Double cross, triple cross, lust, violence, and hate. What's it really worth to stay in these relationships, no matter how shitty they are?

For director, I'd have to say either Craig Brewer (Black Snake Moan) or Rob Zombie (The Devil's Rejects) to help cover it with dirt and a sense of the absurd.

For Lydia, I'd want someone like Kate Winslet. Don't be fooled: Winslet can turn on the nasty, and she can try on an over-the-top fake accent, too. A real change of pace.

For Allan, how about Jorge Garcia from Lost (the guy who plays Hurley)? He strikes the right note, seems to me.

Then for Terry (brains) and Lancaster (brawn), respectively: Justin Timberlake (he does comedy well, even though this is some dark stuff, and I'd love to see him react when his partner goes batshit insane), and Tobey Maguire. Absolutely against type, but it could work. I'm a gambler.

That leaves a couple more to fill: young temptress Megan pops up in her old-fashioned nurse's uniform. I'd say it would fit Lindsey Lohan, finally playing down in the gutter where she belongs rather than in "family friendly" tripe. Then there's Norm, a goofy fucker and one of Lydia's old flames, who might be just right for Jon Heder (and he'd get the living shit beat out of him).

Toss in some tunes from Amy Winehouse, most of the Bloodshot Records stable, juke joint blues, and Jimmy Buffet (hey, it happens on a beach), and I'd still have complaints. But I'd have a big fat check in my pocket, too.
Learn more about Pyschosomatic and Anthony Neil Smith ... and the soundtrack for [his] (fake) movie.

Smith's other works include The Drummer and Plots With Guns.

Check out his blog, "Crimedog One," and his MySpace page.

--Marshal Zeringue