Monday, May 20, 2024

Ash Clifton's "Twice the Trouble"

Ash Clifton grew up in Gainesville, Florida, home of the University of Florida, where his father was a deputy sheriff and, later, the chief of police. He graduated from UF with a degree in English, then got an MFA in creative writing from the University of Arizona. He lives in Gainesville, with his wife and son. He writes mystery, thriller, and science fiction novels.

Here Clifton dreamcast an adaptation of his new novel, Twice the Trouble:
I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought about this topic. A lot. Like practically everybody else these days, I'm a movie buff, and in my mind I'm a great film director. Specifically, I’m a big fan of Michael Mann's films, to the point that I believe the tone and pacing of movies like Thief, Heat, and Collateral were an influence on my book. Mann would be at the top of my dream list to direct any adaptation of Twice the Trouble. My second choice would be Nicolas Winding Refn, who directed a brilliant little noir thriller called Drive. That movie, also, had a strong influence on me.

(Heck, I believe that Steven Spielberg would be a great choice as director. No, I’m serious. People think he only directs fantasies, but he has a real dark side. Hello? Jaws? Munich? Schindler’s List?)

Regarding casting, my main character, Noland Twice, is a former star athlete who has become a private investigator. Whoever plays him would need to be relatively young (30-ish) and athletic. Also, Noland is smart, funny, and resourceful. He's a bit of a trickster. To top it all off, he's Southern, so whoever plays him should either be Southern or able to pull off a credible Southern accent. Caleb Landry Jones would be perfect because he’s Southern (from Texas; close enough), and he’s a brilliant actor with a dark edge. Another cool choice for the Noland role would be Austin Butler, who isn’t Southern but is such a good actor that he could pull it off.

The bad guy that Noland is trying to find is a shady businessman named Valkenburg. He's in his forties and very sly. And tough. Bradley Cooper would be a great choice, as would Oscar Isaac. That is, someone who is obviously smart and has an edge. Noland’s best friend and sidekick, Kiril, is a big, scary, Russian dude who is also a former athlete. Jason Momoa would have been ideal, but he’s too old now. Someone with that same kind of imposing physical presence, though, would be terrific.

Finally, like many good, hard-boiled mystery novels, Twice the Trouble has a mysterious female suspect. Yes, an honest-to-God femme fatale. Her name is Cassandra Raines, and she's a bit older than Noland (forty-ish), but he falls in love with her nonetheless. I think an actress with some depth and strength— Charlize Theron, perhaps—would be fabulous in the role.

A further consideration for my dream film would be the shooting location. Twice the Trouble is set in Orlando, which is one of the strangest and most idiosyncratic cities in America. I would hope that it could be shot there and not in some “stand-in” locale (i.e. Southern California). Anyone who has spent time in Central Florida knows that the landscape—both natural and urban—has its own special character that just can’t be captured anywhere else.

So, that's it. That’s my dream production. Anyone interested can contact me! (Actually, contact my publisher, Crooked Lane Books.)
Visit Ash Clifton's website.

--Marshal Zeringue