Monday, May 6, 2024

Peter Colt's "The Judge"

Peter Colt was born in Boston, MA in 1973 and moved to Nantucket Island shortly thereafter. He is a 1996 graduate of the University of Rhode Island and a 24-year veteran of the Army Reserve with deployments to Kosovo and Iraq. He is a police officer in a New England city and the married father of two boys.

Here Colt dreamcasts an adaptation of his new Andy Roark mystery, The Judge:
In the winter of 1986 Boston based Private Eye, Andy Roark is hired by Judge Ambrose Messer because he is being blackmailed by people who want him to throw case in which industrial waste has poisoned a community. The Judge is paying for a romantic indiscretion and hires Roark to handle it. Roark’s case brings him into contact with Messer’s beautiful and loyal clerk, Angela Estrella, Detective Sergeant Billy Devaney, and Criminal Defense Attorney Johny O’Day.

The Andy Roark that I envision is a guy with life experience, and a weathered look. He’s tough, he’s got skills, but he’s not built like something out of the MCU. I think that Scoot McNairy (Narcos Mexico, Speak No Evil, Killing Them Softly) embodies all of that. McNairy has delivered solid performances and brings an honesty to his roles that allow them to transcend the tropes of their respective genres.

Ambrose Messer, who is the pivotal character in the book, is in his sixties, well to do, and a man with a secret. I would want an actor who can portray the turmoil created by trying to do the noble thing and also realize that his indiscretion can potentially harm the people who are counting on him. I see Ed Harris as being the perfect actor to convey the emotional range of a fundamentally decent man, who is grappling with the fact that his choices might harm the very people he is sworn to defend or at the very least will destroy him.

Angella Estrella is Messer’s fiercely loyal and protective clerk. She is the go between for the Judge and Andy Roark. She is also Roark’s romantic interest in the novel. Angella has a similar upbringing and blue-collar background to Roark and is almost as tough. I would love to see the criminally under-utilized America Ferrera play the part of Angella. She has the acting chops to portray Angella’s toughness, brains and of course beauty.

Detective Sergeant Billy Devaney is a frenemy of Andy’s from the “old neighborhood” South Boston, “Southie”. Billy is objectionable and bigoted, but he is loyal to Andy in his own, crass way. Bill Burr is the only actor who could pull off both sides of the character and still seem likeable.

Johnny O’Day is a criminal defense attorney and not a very good one at that. But he hustles and scrapes and someone ends up in the middle of things. If he can’t make it on brains or looks then he’ll bend a few rules to get buy. I would love to see James Franco play the part. Franco’s range and likeability could best convey the part of a guy who thinks he has it all figured out.
Visit Peter Colt's website.

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The Page 69 Test: The Judge.

--Marshal Zeringue