Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bill Schutt and J. R. Finch's "Hell’s Gate"

Bill Schutt is a vertebrate zoologist and author. He is a research associate in residence at the American Museum of Natural History and a professor of biology at LIU Post. Schutt’s first book, Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures, was critically acclaimed by E. O. Wilson and the New York Times. His forthcoming books include Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History. J. R. Finch is a painter, history buff, and cave explorer.

Here Schutt dreamcasts an adaptation of their new thriller, Hell's Gate:
I’ve been a huge movie buff for as long as I can remember so I guess it’s no surprise that when I wrote my first novel it would be highly cinematic. There are certainly scenes and dialogue in Hell’s Gate that were inspired by Apocalypse Now, Mimic and especially, The Thing (1951). I’ve always been impressed by the wonderful overlapping dialogue in the latter film and we both worked many long hours to get the dialogue in Hell’s Gate to sound natural. These are witty, intelligent people (good and bad) who are thrown into some extremely strange situations and where they face some ‘things’ that no character has ever faced in a novel before. As such, we had a ball imagining how they’d react. Our book also has a very dark tone and I listened to a great deal of Bernard Herrmann while writing Hell’s Gate (especially soundtracks to films like Psycho and Vertigo). Happily, both Mr. Herrmann and Alfred Hitchcock show up as characters in the Hell’s Gate sequel we’re currently finishing. It’s an honor to pay homage to these giants.

As for who would play our characters if Hell’s Gate were made into a film, well, that’s a dream question for a film lover like me. I can certainly see Ryan Reynolds playing our smart talking hero R. J. MacCready and I think Zach Galifianakis would be perfect for Mac’s long-lost, and slightly warped best friend, Bob Thorne. The part of Yanni Thorne (Bob’s indigenous Brazilian wife) is a bit tougher for me to pin down. I think Eva Green would bring a perfect combination of kick-ass and mystery to a very important and multi-layered role. As for the villains, I can easily picture Christoph Waltz and Michael Fassbender in the respective roles of Sänger (our German rocket expert) and Colonel Wolff (the German officer leading his men on an extremely unique mission).

Finally, our dream director, without a doubt, would be Guillermo del Toro. As we wrote many of the big scenes in Hell’s Gate, both my co-author and I did so with daydreams of what theses scenes (with their WWII rockets and lethal non-human characters) would look like if they had been composed and filmed by Mr. del Toro.
--Marshal Zeringue