Friday, September 15, 2017

Michael Gregorio's "Lone Wolf"

Michael Gregorio is the pen name of Michael G. Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio. Best known for their Hanno Stiffeniis series, featuring a Prussian magistrate in a country invaded by Napoleon and the French, they have more recently launched a contemporary series set in Italy, where they live. The Seb Cangio novels follow the exploits of a forest ranger as he combats Mafia infiltration of the unspoilt national park in Umbria where he works.

Here the authors share the transcript from their (dream) pitch meeting with United Artists about adapting their latest novel, the third in the series, Lone Wolf, for the big screen:
Imagine: United Artists and us.

UA: These stories haven’t been adapted for the big screen?

US: Unbelievable, isn’t it? A mystery on every page, a dead body in every chapter, a climax that will blast the viewer out of his seat…

UA: His seat? Don’t tell me this is a guy film.

US: No, no, it’s got everything. Violence, sure, but love, devotion to duty, animals…

UA: No dogs die, do they? No horses? Nothing like that?

US: Only the thugs die. Quite a lot of them, actually. But it’s all good fun, plenty of action with a capital A and a serious investment in top quality tomato sauce.

UA: Now that is a good sponsor angle. Yeah, show the can… the can of sauce, I mean, in all the kitchen scenes.

US: We use Mutti Polpa at home and recommend it highly. Five stars, big lumps, great splatter…

UA: Mutti, Parma… you don’t say? (He’s making a note of the name). I’ll check it out. Now, tell me this. How do you see this movie playing out? Gimme a sketch.

US: Well, there’ll be trees, lots of trees, ’cause the hero is a park ranger. Oh yeah, and mountains, too, ’cause it’s set in Umbria…

UA: What’s Umbria?

US: It’s a place in Italy. It’s full of mountains, forests, full of wolves. That’s what the park ranger does, he protects the wolves…

UA: The wolves don’t die, do they? We have this thing with Animal Protection.

US: No, no, the wolves don’t die. The wolves are just an allegory…

UA: Allegheny? I thought you said Italy?

US: The wolves are a symbol. They’re cruel, but, well, that’s Nature, isn’t it? It’s the two-legged wolves we’re interested in…

UA: Wolves with two legs? You mean like walking wolves? Werewolves?

US: We mean criminals, people who behave like wolves, worse than wolves…

UA: Okay, so we got wolves and criminals, a dumb park ranger. What else?

US: There’s London, too, the seamy Soho underworld…

UA: We can film those scenes right here in New York, cut back on costs.

US: And there’s the ’Ndrangheta…

UA: The what?

US: The mafia from Calabria, the most dangerous criminal organisation in the world.

UA: Winslow’s already worked that angle. Slaughter on every page.

US: Our slaughter starts on page three…

UA: And the first two pages?

US: Magic, witchcraft, a pinch of historical backstory.

UA: What about a director? You got any thoughts on that?

US: Well, our vote goes to Mel. He’s been through this kind of thing before – oceans of blood, nastiness unchained, and a wild natural setting with eclipses of the sun and sudden downpours – we’ve seen Apocalypto twenty or thirty times, it’s one of our favourite movies.

UA: We’re talking big money here. So, what about the stars?

US: Well, there are two lead women…

UA: Two? That’s throwing money away. Could we cut it back to one? We got Scarlett, Cameron, Ashley, take your pick. Male leads are two a penny, so let’s play safe with Leonardo. Di Caprio. Italian-sounding, right? He should know how to handle this ’Ndrangheta angle… Okay, time’s up. I’ll get back to you on this. Have a great day!

As you may have realised, films and filmstars are not our thing. So, we’ll just have to wait for a producer with his cheque book and chosen camera buff to come along and finally do what Justice demands: make Lone Wolf into the blockbuster movie it deserves to be!
Visit Michael Gregorio's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: Lone Wolf.

--Marshal Zeringue