Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bill Crider & Clyde Wilson's "Mississippi Vivian"

Bill Crider is the author of more than fifty novels, including the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series. He is the winner of the Anthony Award and has been nominated for both the Shamus and Edgar Awards. Clyde Wilson was a legendary Texas private eye. He worked with the famous and the infamous. One of his cases was the basis for two true-crime books and a made-for-TV movie. He died in October 2008.

Here Crider shares his thinking on the cast for an adaptation of their recently released novel, Mississippi Vivian:
Mississippi Vivian is set in 1970, and if the movie could be made in that year, there’s no doubt that I’d cast James Garner in the role of Ted Stephens, a Houston private-eye who’s sent to a small town in Mississippi to investigate an insurance scam. That’s because I’d cast the James Garner of that era as just about any male character that I write about. It’s not that I have him in mind when I’m writing. It’s just that I think he could play any of the roles and do a fine job of it. And since it’s 1970, I’d cast Joanne Woodward as Mississippi Vivian. She can do the accent, and she’s be great as a waitress in a diner.

Unfortunately, it’s not 1970 anymore, and neither Garner nor Woodward is the right age to play those roles. These days I tend to think of Tommy Lee Jones as being able to pull of the male characters I write about. Not everybody thinks of Jones when it comes to characters with a sense of humor like mine have, but I’ve seen Man of the House, and I know that Jones has got a dead-on sense of comic timing that would be perfect for Ted Stephens. As for Mississippi Vivian, maybe I could lure Jamie Lee Curtis. Why? Because I think she’d do a great job, and it’s been a while since I’ve seen her in a movie. She’s always terrific.

I’m not sure about the minor roles, but I’d like to borrow Nick Searcy from Justified to play Sheriff Joe Bronte. He’s got the attitude and a style that would just fit. And while I’m borrowing from the Justified cast, I’d like to have Walton Goggins for just about any of the minor characters with bad attitudes. There’s one named Wade Dickie that he’d be fine for.

And as Kathy Hull, the young woman who tries an inept seduction of Ted Stephens, I’d cast Paris Hilton. I’d like to be known as the guy who gave her her big break.
Read more about Mississippi Vivian at the publisher's website.

Visit Bill Crider's website and blog, and read his My Book, The Movie entry for the Sheriff Dan Rhodes novels.

--Marshal Zeringue