Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Christopher Morgan Jones's "The Searcher"

Chris Morgan Jones worked for eleven years at the world’s largest business intelligence agency, and has advised Middle Eastern governments, Russian oligarchs, New York banks, London hedge funds, and African mining companies. The author of The Silent Oligarch and The Jackal’s Share, he lives in London.

Here Jones dreamcasts an adaptation of his latest novel, The Searcher:
The hero of The Searcher is Isaac Hammer: in his late fifties, an American living in London, once a journalist and now the proprietor of a successful private investigations firm that he founded twenty years ago. He’s never married, and he’s a serious but not wholly observant Jew. He has a beautiful house near the park and runs a lot, too much, if anything, but what he really lives for is his work, and he’s immensely good at it. He can talk, but he’s a deceptively good listener, too - and a watcher...

The actor who plays him needn’t be big. Hammer is slight and birdlike, in the book, but we could compromise on that a little as long as he didn’t end up being some towering specimen. And he’d need a sense of humour, because Hammer uses his a fair amount. He’s no comedian, but he likes the occasional wisecrack.

Ed Harris would do a great job, I think. He has the right combination of reserve and control - and it would be easy to imagine that he was at once hugely clever and, in the situation he finds himself in, out of his depth and scrambling to get back to the surface. The book opens with Hammer in the Republic of Georgia, a country he doesn’t know and seems likely never to understand. He gets caught up in a riot, and in short order loses all his luggage, his passport, and a deal of self-respect. After that he’s reliant on his wits, and Harris would have no problem conveying that.

For the other characters: Vera Farmiga for Natela, the blunt, chain-smoking, sceptical widow who Hammer inadvertently pulls into the conspiracy he’s investigating. Clive Owen for Hammer’s former colleague and former friend Ben Webster, who’s gone missing in Georgia. Cate Blanchett in the role of the precise, cool, duplicitous spy Elene Vekua. And an actor with no vanity for the role of Otar Iosava, a local oligarch whose face has been disfigured by poison, in proper former Soviet Union style. He needs real menace, and a terrifying voice. A great English actor, Ralph Ineson, would be perfect.
Visit Chris Morgan Jones's website.

--Marshal Zeringue