Saturday, June 25, 2011

Reavis Z. Wortham's "The Rock Hole"

Reavis Z. Wortham recently retired from 35 years in public education, the past 25 in the Communications Department of the Garland ISD in Texas, and the final 4 as the Director. He is now a full-time freelance writer and novelist. His first book, Doreen’s 24 HR Eat Gas Now Café, was released in 1999.

Here he shares some ideas for casting a cinematic adaptation of his new novel, The Rock Hole, the first mystery in The Red River Series:
The Rock Hole is set in rural 1964 Lamar County, Texas. A bottomland farming community, the setting is reminiscent of the classic movie, Home From the Hill, from the novel of the same name. There is not a lot of beautiful scenery, simply tree-lined rivers and fields, and many hardscrabble farms.

I had no preconceived notions about who might play these parts. The main character, Ned Parker, is based on my grandfather who was constable during that time. He isn’t your traditional svelte, good looking gumshoe, rather a time-worn, balding, pot-bellied farmer who serves his community after he gets off a tractor each day. A number of people have suggested Robert Duvall for this role, but my agent Jeanie Pantelakis at Sullivan Maxx is insistent that Ed Harris play the part. Ed’s gonna have to grow a belly first, though.

If I had anyone in mind to play the almost mythical deputy John Washington, it would be Michael Clarke Duncan. His performance in The Green Mile hung around the edges of my mind while I was writing the book, but truly the character was based on someone I knew as a child.

The ten-year-old boy and girl are wide open to interpretation. The kids in my book trailer for The Rock Hole were local children who did a great job. They should be played by up and coming youngsters who can shoulder the characteristics of sickly, but adventurous Top, and precocious, foul-mouthed Pepper.

Colin Egglesfield, Cody, the half-Choctaw Vietnam veteran who has just returned home. His chiseled features already tell the story of a man who is tormented by what he saw in the jungles just before the war truly exploded for the American people.

My youngest daughter votes for comedian Ron White to take the role of the old East Texas judge O.C. Rains. He has the hair, and the Texas accent necessary to invoke an the soft-hearted curmudgeon very easily.

Tantoo Cardinal is the perfect Miss Becky, wife of constable Ned Parker. She is of mixed Native American and European descent and true to the nature of the book. She has a wonderfully careworn face that will haunt the audience and show the true spirit of a full blood Choctaw farm wife who wants nothing more than to keep her family safe and to serve her savior.
Learn more about the book and author at Reavis Z. Wortham's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Rock Hole.

--Marshal Zeringue