Monday, May 1, 2017

Avery Duff's "Beach Lawyer"

Avery Duff was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he attended Baylor School and graduated summa cum laude. After graduating Phi Beta Kappa from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he earned a JD from Georgetown University Law Center. He then joined a prestigious Tennessee law firm, becoming a partner in five years, before moving to Los Angeles. His screenwriting credits include the 2010 heist drama Takers, starring Matt Dillon, Idris Elba, Paul Walker, and Hayden Christensen. Duff lives at the beach in Los Angeles and spends his time writing fiction.

Here Duff dreamcasts an adaptation of Beach Lawyer, his first published novel:
Something about Beach Lawyer—compressed time, place, a specific problem—sets up okay for a movie. Or a series for that matter. Whether by intent or accident or years of screenwriting habits, good and bad, having a character in mind always helped me.

More and more these days, though, I think about an actor’s vibe rather the actor him/her/self. I mean, Cliff, the associate who takes Robert’s job, reminds me a lot of young Peter Gallagher—handsome beyond what most men like to hang out with, and The Player smarmy.

But I digress at the outset—usually I wait until later. Starting with the two female leads, Gia Marquez and Leslie DeRider.

Gia should come off like Rosario Dawson, part Latina, part Chinese or part anything else as long as it’s sultry, sexual, smart—and cool. Someone who materializes inside a room instead of entering it. If Ms. Dawson and Gong Li had a female child—forget the mechanics for a moment—you’d get Gia Marquez. Ms. Li: no one ever broke my heart in an action movie, unless you count Lassie and Old Yeller, but Gong Li broke mine twice in Miami Vice.

Leslie DeRider, the banker. With all that OC in her DNA, Leslie’s going to need whatever inheres in Blake Lively—not, though, Ms. Lively’s laid-back hedonist in Savages. She’ll need to appear a little slow on the uptake, eager to please, and up for anything in the world outside the office.

Then we have Robert Worth and Jack Pierce. Both need to be physical. Alpha males capable of mixing it up if pushed too far. Each has a line you don’t want to cross. Robert’s line is rational; Jack’s line, not at all. For these two, I can picture the Producer saying—shouting actually: “Get me the next Matthew McConaughey to play this Worth kid and be quick about it! Who? Never heard of him! And while you’re at it, bring me the next Richard Gere to play Jack Pierce! No, not Pretty Woman Gere, Internal Affairs Gere! Hop to it! We’re shooting this piece of crap in four months. Where’s my script? What? Then get me new writers!”
Learn more about Beach Lawyer.

--Marshal Zeringue