Thursday, April 2, 2020

Ed Ruggero's "Blame the Dead"

Ed Ruggero is a West Point graduate and former Army officer who has studied, practiced, and taught leadership for more than twenty-five years. His client list includes the FBI, the New York City Police Department, CEO Conference Europe, the CIA, the Young Presidents Organization, Forbes, among many others. He has appeared on CNN, The History Channel, the Discovery Channel, and CNBC and has spoken to audiences around the world on leadership, leader development and ethics. He lives in Philadelphia.

Here Ruggero dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, Blame the Dead:
Lieutenant Eddie Harkins, the protagonist of Blame the Dead, is a former Philadelphia beat cop investigating the murder of a US Army surgeon in the wake of the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943.

I’d like to see Eddie Harkins played by Lucas Hedges, an Academy Award nominee for Manchester by the Sea. Hedges is about the right age and looks like the kind of All-American kid who—like Eddie Harkins—stepped up to become a citizen soldier when his country needed him. In his role as a closeted gay teen in Ladybird, Hedges’ shows the kind of emotional and moral confusion Harkins exhibits as he investigates the murder of a particularly loathsome victim while dealing with his own personal demons. And because Harkins, a former patrolman, has never been a detective, he is in over his head from the start. Hedges can portray that confusion while still getting across the strong underlying sense of justice that drives Eddie.

Lieutenant Kathleen Donnelly is a US Army nurse who, along with her comrades, contends with heat, dirt, chaos and the constant threat of imminent, violent death as she cares for her patients in a field hospital in war-torn Sicily. Donnelly and Harkins grew up in the same Philadelphia neighborhood.

Saoirse Ronan is Kathleen Donnelly and has been since I conceived of this character. I’m a huge fan of the Irish actress (Eddie Harkins has a sister named Saoirse and another character’s last name is Ronan). The fictional Kathleen displays the kind of courage, both moral and physical, that Ronan brings to the role of Jo March in Little Women. Here’s Eddie Harkins’ take on Kathleen:
He thought about Kathleen Donnelly, her tired eyes and blood-splattered uniform, her dazzling competence and the way her mouth tasted.
If any actress can get all that into one scene, one line, one look, it’s Ronan. There is a short but powerful scene in Brooklyn in which Ronan’s character, Ellis, stands up to a bully in her Irish hometown. Up to this point, and even at the beginning of the scene, Ellis has been in this woman’s grip; she breaks that spell by summoning up just the kind of courage that Kathleen Donnelly displays when she cares for wounded GIs a few miles behind the front lines.

Private Dominic Colianno is Eddie Harkins’ driver and a somewhat reluctant sidekick in the investigation. Colianno is a combat veteran who has seen and done awful things.

Timothée Chalamet is a great choice for the deeply troubled Colianno. In Beautiful Boy, in which he plays a teenage addict and for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe, Chalamet shows a dark side that he struggles mightily to control. He leaves the viewer wondering if, like Dominic Colianno, he just might be a little crazy. Just as important for the role of this soldier, Chalamet displays a good—though understated--comic sensibility in his role as Laurie in Little Women. Finally, Chalamet looks like he could be the son of Sicilian immigrants to the US and is certainly up to the challenge of showing the soldier’s conflicted attitude about his role as an invader in his family’s native country.
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Writers Read: Ed Ruggero.

--Marshal Zeringue