Wednesday, January 27, 2016

David Wellington's "The Cyclops Initiative"

David Wellington is an author of horror, fantasy, and thriller novels. His zombie novels Monster Island, Monster Nation and Monster Planet form a complete trilogy. He has also written a series of vampire novels including Thirteen Bullets, Ninety-Nine Coffins, Vampire Zero, Twenty-Three Hours, and 32 Fangs. His werewolf series comprises Frostbite and Overwinter.

In 2013 Wellington introduced Afghanistan veteran Jim Chapel in the novel, Chimera, which was later followed by The Hydra Protocol.

Here Wellington dreamcasts an adaptation of the new Jim Chapel novel, The Cyclops Initiative:
“What would you like to have a director do with your book?” I have a stock answer whenever anybody asks me this question, which is that I don’t know but I’d be excited to see what they came up with. I’m not of the opinion that movies should scrupulously follow a book’s content. Where’s the fun in that? Any movie is going to be an interpretation of the source material, so why not make it an interesting interpretation?

Of course you’re going to run into fans who just want to see their favorite story made into some kind of visual artifact. Which is understandable, I suppose, but it just seems so boring. So if someone were to ask me “Who do you want to play Jim Chapel in the movie?” I think I would have to say: John Boyega.

Let’s break this down. Jim Chapel in The Cyclops Initiative is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. He lost an arm over there (and got a spiffy new robotic replacement). He’s a special forces vet just easing into middle age, a quiet, brooding fellow who is still able to jump into action when the need arises but who is learning to be more thoughtful and compassionate as he ages. He’s a real hero.

Oh, and Chapel’s a white guy. I think he specifically says as much in the book, but, yeah, we all knew he was white, no point in pretending otherwise now. Astute readers, or at least those with functional short term memory, will recall I picked John Boyega. Who is black. Oh, and too young, and he has both arms, and… sure.

He’s also utterly charming. Did you see that star fighters movie thing? I think you probably saw it by now. Boyega is a solid actor who brings energy and enthusiasm to his role as leading spaceman, but the thing that came across the most for me from that performance was: he’s a nice guy. His character is literally defined by the fact that he was a soldier who chose to be nice. And that’s exactly what I was trying to do with Jim Chapel.

So, John Boyega. Absolutely.

I will admit that I would enjoy the furor. The Twitter comments from people who don’t realize how foolish they sound as they sputter and whine. But then, I’m not a nice guy. I just write about one in the books.

John Boyega as Captain Jim Chapel, all the way. Ooh, and Daisy Ridley can have a part, too (if you’ve read the book, you know which part, and that she’d be perfect, but no spoilers here). If we got them both that would sell one hell of a lot of tickets. And it would be fun.

It’s entertainment, right? Isn’t it supposed to be fun? People are so afraid to take chances these days. In fact, hell with it. Daisy Ridley as Jim Chapel. And all the other characters can be CGI hippos. Directors of the world, I am waiting. You can do what you like with my book! Just please, try to make it fun!
Learn more about the book and author at David Wellington's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Hydra Protocol.

The Page 69 Test: Positive.

--Marshal Zeringue