Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Benjamin Johncock's "The Last Pilot"

Benjamin Johncock was born in England in 1978. His short stories have been published by The Fiction Desk and The Junket. He is the recipient of an Arts Council England grant and the American Literary Merit Award, and is a winner of Comma Press's National Short Story Day competition. He also writes for the Guardian. He lives in Norwich, England, with his wife, his daughter, and his son.

Here Johncock dreamcasts an adaptation of his newly released first novel, The Last Pilot:
This is a tough one. I usually prefer to let readers form their own images and impressions… but, who can resist the fun of a game like this? Well, not me. I love the movies.

Let’s start with Harrison Ford, circa 1981 for Jim. I’ve also been mesmerized by Matthew Goode, an actor who can say nothing but convey everything. Matthew Goode is the scene. He’s a master. We were at the University of Birmingham together too, though our paths never crossed. Robert Bernstein, who produced the 2008 adaptation of Brideshead Revisited, said that Goode won the role of Ryder because of his wonderful stillness: “The sign of a truly great actor is not what he says but what he appears to say when the camera is on him, and Matthew has that.” It’s the same quality I see in Jon Hamm, although sadly he’s too old now to play Jim. Matthew Goode may be perfect.

For Grace, perhaps Carey Mulligan, who I love.

I have no idea who could take on Pancho.

Directors… where to begin? I’d love to see what the following would do with The Last Pilot: Alfonso Cuarón, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Costner, Kathryn Bigelow, Steven Spielberg, Jeff Nichols, Cary Fukunaga, Steven Soderbergh, Jane Campion, the Coen Brothers, Tom Hanks, JJ Abrams. I’d also love to see what Quentin Tarantino would do, playing it straight with someone else’s material, in the same way as he did with Jackie Brown. A Matthew Weiner take on The Last Pilot could be very special too - I’m a huge fan of his writing and direction on Mad Men.
Visit Benjamin Johncock's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Pilot.

Writers Read: Benjamin Johncock.

--Marshal Zeringue