Thursday, November 20, 2014

John Lawton's "Sweet Sunday"

John Lawton has written seven Inspector Troy thrillers, two standalone novels, and a volume of history, and has edited several English writers (Wells, Conrad, D. H. Lawrence) for Everyman Classics. His thriller Black Out won a WH Smith Fresh Talent Award, A Little White Death was named a New York Times notable book, and his latest Troy novel A Lily of the Field was named one of the best thrillers of the year by the New York Times. His recent novels include Then We Take Berlin, the first book to feature Joe Wilderness, and the newly released Sweet Sunday.

Here Lawton dreamcasts an adaptation of Sweet Sunday:
Sweet Sunday? Oddly, I never cast anyone for Raines in the Cinema-of-the-Mind. Only time I have so lapsed. Troy? Easy … James Mason … and I have argued the case for Robert Downey Jr with producers on several occasions to no avail. (Dear Bob, I do hope you’re reading this ... the part is yours for the asking.) Tosca? … Janeane Garofalo to a T.

The parts I cast in this book were mainly the women … Rose is Alex Kingston (ER, Dr Who, Moll Flanders), Althea is Alfre Woodard (First Contact) and perhaps Lois would be Grace Zabriskie … and, sad to say, as fictions never age and actors do ... all of them as they were ten or twenty years ago.

Turner Raines … well, he’s a Texan and perhaps Texas’s most famous actor is Tommy Lee Jones, but TLJ must be my age at least so maybe Texas’s 2nd star actor gets the part … Matthew McConaughey. His rise to fame passed me by (I know, I should get out more) but two US TV dramas (not requiring me to leave the house) have had me by the b*lls this year – Fargo and True Detective, and after the latter I seek out everything McConaughey has ever done. Sahara? Not as bad as is claimed. Lincoln Lawyer, OK. Will anything measure up to the performance he gives in True Detective? Looking up his track record, I realise he played the lawyer in A Time To Kill. Never even clocked his name at the time. But, an aside, … it occurs to me I have never seen a duff film made from a Grisham novel, or for that matter a Stephen King novel. So how come Gorky Park and Fatherland got slaughtered on the silver screen? Hmm….

I’d love to write for Billy Bob Thornton, but I’d be too scared to meet him. I have just seen The Judge, with the Roberts Duvall and Downey … Billy Bob gets a cameo, and the reveal as the camera finally shows you his face plays upon the sheer scare factor Fargo has built up for Billy Bob.

Directors? I’m not sure I could name you a film director since Hitchcock. The ones I liked are mostly dead … eg. Michael Powell, Francois Truffaut … but then, they were also writers … so what did I like about Truffaut? His scripts or his way with his own scripts when he directed them? Dunno … but it brings me, at last, to a director still among the living … Joel Coen … do I like his writing or his directing? No idea.
Learn more about the book and author at John Lawton's website.

The Page 69 Test: Then We Take Berlin.

Writers Read: John Lawton.

The Page 69 Test: Sweet Sunday.

--Marshal Zeringue