Thursday, August 2, 2007

Christa Faust's "Hoodtown"

Christa Faust's books include tie-in novels and novelizations of Snakes on a Plane and other movies, and the novels Control Freak, Triads, Hoodtown, and Money Shot (forthcoming in 2008 from Hard Case Crime).

Here she explains why an adaptation of Hoodtown is unlikely, yet nevertheless explores some ideas for the talent:
Hoodtown is the story of a washed up female masked wrestler who dishes out vigilante justice. The novel is set in a tough urban ghetto of "hoods" who remain masked at all times. It's classic hardboiled pulp crossed with the vintage lucha heroes of 1960's Mexican cinema.

I've always considered Hoodtown to be essentially unfilmable by current Hollywood standards. It's very visual and would make a great independent film, but there are just too many deal breakers to attract any big name talent.

For starters you have X, the heroine, whose face would be completely covered for the entire movie. No star is going to agree to play a role like that. Then there's the fact that X is over 40 and over 200lbs but still fit and strong, able to hold her own against a male opponent in her own weight class. Not only are all Hollywood actresses required to weigh less than a feather, women who are over 40 must fight their age tooth and nail. There are no female Clint Eastwoods. No tough-as-nails, weathered and hardboiled women who are still sexy and charismatic. I wouldn't want some plastic, nerve-dead mannequin trying to look half her age. I'd want to see crow's feet. I just don't think that woman exists in Hollywood. Bottom line, X would have to be played by an unknown, a very powerful actress capable of conveying strong emotions using only her eyes.

As for the other characters in the story, I'd love to cast Ernie Reyes Jr. as Jaguar and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as Malasuerte. Just for fun, I'd cast Dita Von Teese as the burlesque dancer Golden Swan. Of course, you wouldn't see any of their faces either. The only characters whose faces you'd see would be Joe Cray, the "skin" cop and Black Eagle, the turncoat villain. Maybe I could throw the studio bean counters a bone by casting bigger names in those roles. How about Will Smith and Brad Pitt? Though if I had it my way, I'd prefer Laurence Mason for Cray and Willem Defoe for Black Eagle.

Álex de la Iglesia (Acción Mutante, El Día de la Bestia), Guillermo Del Toro (Devil's Backbone, Hellboy), or Robert Rodriguez (El Mariachi, Sin City) would be my top three choices for director.

Soundtrack would be provided by Los Straight Jackets.

That's my perfect world. In the real world, X would be played by Carmen Electra and she'd have her hood off before the end of the first act.
Visit Christa Faust's website and her blog to learn more about her work.

--Marshal Zeringue