Friday, November 11, 2022

D. M. Rowell's "Never Name the Dead"

Like her protagonist Mud, D.M. Rowell (Koyh Mi O Boy Dah) comes from a long line of Kiowa Storytellers. After a thirty-two-year career spinning stories for Silicon Valley startups and corporations with a few escapes creating award-winning independent documentaries, Rowell started a new chapter writing mysteries that share information about her Plains Indian tribe, the Kiowas.

Here the author shares some insights on an adaptation of her new novel, Never Name the Dead:
As I wrote Never Name the Dead, I did think of the book becoming a movie one day. But since I never imagined my book would be published, I thought it would be me producing the feature film and submitting it to film festivals. I’ve produced independent documentaries in the past, and had always wanted to create a feature film. My book seemed the perfect vehicle.

My novel is a brisk mystery, all taking place in less than twenty-four hours. I like the fast pace of the book and would want that energy in the movie.The adventure starts with Silicon Valley professional Mae Sawpole receiving a call for help from her traditional Kiowa grandfather. The call sends Mae on an unexpected spiritual quest as she returns to her childhood home in the former Kiowa, Comanche, Apache Reservation area of Oklahoma. There she’s called Mud, a childhood nickname that stuck. Upon Mud’s arrival, she finds her grandfather missing, a precious Kiowa artifact stolen, illegal fracking and a body. Mud faces angry tribal members, old enemies, wildcat frackers and a charging buffalo in her hunt for a murderer.

While I envisioned Never Name the Dead as a movie, I never put a face or name to the ideal actors to play the different characters. I always saw Mud as a Kiowa or other Native actor, not the faces I typically saw on screen. If I produced the movie, I planned to reach out to locals in the Oklahoma area to find the right Mud and Denny.

While I didn’t have a specific actor in mind, I knew the spirit I wanted for Mud. The type of actress I want to see play Mud would be similar to Zendaya’s portrayal of MJ in the Spiderman movies. MJ is an independent and strong multiracial woman. She projects quiet strength and confidence. These are characteristics I want to come across in the portrayal of Mud, while also showing the character as a bit of a klutz that can easily laugh at herself. Mud can do amazing things one moment and fall over her tangled feet the next.
Visit D. M. Rowell's website.

--Marshal Zeringue