Monday, November 5, 2007

Steve Hockensmith's "Holmes on the Range"

Steve Hockensmith is the author of three novels featuring Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer: Holmes on the Range (2006), On the Wrong Track (2007), and the forthcoming The Black Dove (2008).

In March 2007 he applied the Page 69 Test to On the Wrong Track; here he explores possible casting choices for a film adaptation of the novels:
When people ask me who I’d like to play Big Red and Old Red Amlingmeyer, the cowboy heroes of my Holmes on the Range mysteries, my answer’s always the same: I don’t care if it’s the Wayans brothers, so long as the check clears.

I’ll admit it, though -- I’m just covering my emotional butt there. (And my butt does get rather verklempt, at times.) You see, I know as the writer I have no power over the casting whatsoever. Heck, I don’t have any power over anything, except maybe what I’ll have for lunch ... and even then it
has to be something in the fridge already.

So though it doesn’t make sense to care about something I have no control over (and which probably won’t ever happen anyway), care I would. And I’m sorry, Shawn and Marlon -- I don’t care how good the makeup was in White Chicks. I just can’t see you playing red-haired German-American cowboy-detectives.

Two actor-brothers I could see in the roles are Luke and Owen Wilson. After all, they’re from Texas, they’ve got great onscreen chemistry (as demonstrated by the charming caper-comedy Bottle Rocket) and they don’t look like total dorks when wearing Stetsons. (Owen cowboyed up in Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights, while Luke had a small supporting role in 3:10 to Yuma.) The tough part would be deciding who’d be who. Both could probably play the affable (if occasionally irritating) Big Red -- Luke could no doubt capture the character’s put-upon affection for his eccentric brother, while Owen could channel Big Red’s goofy jocularity in his sleep. But could either of them pull off Old Red, the cranky, brooding, brilliant-though-illiterate elder brother? I’m not so sure.

If I cast the casting net a little wider, though, I can come up with the perfect Old Red: Sam “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” Rockwell, who can do accents and ride horses and create compelling, intelligent oddballs at the drop of a 10-gallon hat. I think he’d even look O.K. with a carrot top and a handlebar mustache.

So pair Rockwell with one of the Wilson boys -- I’ll say Owen because, let’s face it, the poor guy could really use a fun, high-concept comeback vehicle right about now -- and bingo. Box-office gold. Or (to judge by the grosses for 3:10 to Yuma) silver, anyway. Bronze, at the very least.

So come on, Tinseltown -- go for the gold (or silver or bronze)! Call my dawg Rich over at CAA and make an offer!

Even if you represent the Wayans brothers.

Cuz, yeah, I admit it. I care who plays Big Red and Old Red ... but I care even more about paying off my mortgage....
Read Big Red's blog to learn more about Steve Hockensmith and his writing.

The Page 69 Test: On the Wrong Track.

--Marshal Zeringue