Saturday, July 9, 2022

Alex Temblador's "Half Outlaw"

Alex Temblador is the award-winning author of Secrets of the Casa Rosada. She has an essay in Living Beyond Borders: Growing Up Mexican in America and a short story in Speculative Fiction for Dreamers: A Latinx Anthology.

Here Temblador dreamcasts an adaptation of her new novel, Half Outlaw:
Half Outlaw is a story about a half-Mexican, half white woman named Raqi who was raised by her uncle Dodge after her parents died when she was four. Dodge has a substance abuse problem and runs drugs and guns for his outlaw motorcycle club, the Lawless. The book alternates between Raqi’s childhood and the present setting of 1990 when Raqi is a successful lawyer in Los Angeles. Dodge has just died, and she’s asked by Billy, the Lawless leader, to go on a cross-country motorcycle ride in honor of Dodge and meet people along the route. Raqi only agrees to go, in exchange for the address of her Mexican grandfather, whom she didn’t know existed.

In the novel, Raqi is depicted at many ages in her life from four years old to thirty-one years old, but for this exercise, I’ll just focus on ‘adult Raqi.’ I always pictured her being played by someone like Michelle Rodriguez or even Stephanie Beatriz – tough Latina women who would look comfortable on a Harley motorcycle. Though I also like Alyssa Diaz and Mayra Leal, both of whom are closer in age to Raqi.

This might be a little crazy, but I could see Matthew McConaughey or Norman Reedus taking on the role of Dodge. Most of Dodge’s scenes will be in the past when he’s between the ages of 40 and 60. McConaughey and Reedus fit within these ages and have the range to play a gruff man that had a difficult childhood, fought in the Vietnam War, and deals with substance abuse. The makeup and hair people might have to ‘roughen up’ the two men to make them resemble Dodge, but it can be done. Bryan Cranston wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

I would love to cast Ann Dowd to play Dodge’s girlfriend, Lenora, whom Raqi meets on the ride. She looks exactly as I picture Lenora and her talent would really showcase the kind of woman that Lenora is. Kurt Sutter or Ron Perlman would be good options to play Billy, who is the leader of the Lawless. They both have very imposing presences that would speak to the kind of man that Billy is in the book.

Jackson, Raqi’s ex-boyfriend, and his twin sister, Bethie, who was Raqi’s childhood best friend, are two very important characters. I can picture Alexander Ludwig playing Jackson and Dakota Fanning as Bethie. Although Raqi’s boyfriend Trevor doesn’t play a huge role in the novel, I’ve always thought that Lakeith Stanfield would be a phenomenal casting choice for him.

It would be a dream to see Half Outlaw adapted for film or TV. I may be biased, but I think it’s the kind of story that would have viewers on the edge of their seat, especially with actors like these.
Visit Alex Temblador's website.

--Marshal Zeringue