Monday, April 11, 2011

Larry D. Sweazy's "The Badger’s Revenge"

Larry D. Sweazy's first western, The Rattlesnake Season, a Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger novel, was released by Berkley Books in 2009. Book #2 in the Josiah Wolfe series, The Scorpion Trail, followed in 2010. Book #3, The Badger's Revenge, was released on April 05, 2011, and Book #4, The Cougar's Prey, will be released in October, 2011.

Here he shares some ideas for casting the principal roles in an adaptation of the new novel:
The Badger’s Revenge is third novel in the Josiah Wolfe, Texas Ranger series. The book finds Josiah captured by two Comanche bounty hunters, far from home, and he must escape if he is ever to see his young son, again. Through luck, and fortitude, he does escape, and makes his way home, back to Austin, where he has to confront not only his past, but matters of the heart; whether he can allow himself to ever love again. Pearl Fikes is a widow, and a woman of privilege, while Josiah sees himself as a common man, with enough tragedy in his past to keep from ever risking love again. They two of them are worlds apart, but drawn passionately to each other. When Josiah makes his decision, it sets off a series of events that leaves him face to face with a scorned suitor, Pete Feders. Feders is the captain of Josiah’s Ranger company, and holds Josiah’s fate, and ultimately his life, in his hands.

Long before he was the host of the Academy Awards, and cut off his arm in 127 Hours, I thought that James Franco would be the best modern male actor to play Josiah Wolfe. Franco is shorter than I originally imagined Josiah, and his hair color and complexion is all wrong, but what is right, I think, is Franco’s ability to express internal emotions without saying a word. Josiah is a Civil War veteran, and has suffered the unimaginable loss of his three daughters and his wife, all the while, left to care for an infant son in 1874 Texas. Josiah’s struggle to find some sense of a normal life as he moves forward, being a Texas Ranger as well as a single father, is an emotional challenge, as well as a physical one that demands an actor who can grasp the entirety of Josiah’s life, and the deep core of his character. Franco offers an edgy style that would present Josiah to the world as far more than a cardboard Western hero.

Josiah’s sidekick, Robert Earl “Scrap” Elliot, is a polar opposite of him. Scrap is young, impetuous, a hothead, who is also an excellent horseman, and one of the finest marksman of his day. The challenge for any casting agent for this role would be to find an actor, who like Franco, has an emotional depth, but one that doesn’t mirror his partner , playing off of him instead. Zac Efron  comes to mind. I think the role of Scrap Elliot would be a really good challenge for him.

Rachel McAdams, of Sherlock Holmes and The Time Traveler’s Wife, would be perfect for the role of Pearl Fikes. Strong, independent, with a deep well of passion and emotion at her disposal, are all talents that would be required to be paired with Josiah, as well as maintaining her own struggle to choose the right path in life for herself (as opposed to the path, and suitor, her mother wants her to choose).

I’ve always seen the Josiah Wolfe series more as a mini-series than a movie, but I would love to see these actors take the words and scenes from my imagination, and bring them to life on any screen.
Watch the trailer for The Badger’s Revenge, and learn more about the book and author at Larry D. Sweazy's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Badger’s Revenge.

Read--Coffee with a Canine: Larry D. Sweazy and Brodi and Sunny.

Writers Read: Larry D. Sweazy.

--Marshal Zeringue