Friday, June 22, 2007

“Trouble” Bound

It’s been a crazy old week here, intensified by the fact that it’s finally summer and I would much rather be outside than inside batting away at a keyboard. Nonetheless, I’ve persisted in keeping track of things roiling in the crime-fiction sphere. Some of those recent developments:

We’ve mentioned before the talk about English actor Clive Owen (Children of Men) portraying Raymond Chandler’s iconic series detective, Philip Marlowe, in a future cinematic presentation. But now comes solid news of this production from Variety--and it seems like good news. Apparently, comic-book artist and writer Frank Miller (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) has been hired to script the film, which will be an adaptation of Chandler’s 1939 short story, “Trouble Is My Business,” a tale that originally featured John Dalmas rather than Marlowe. (The protagonist was later changed for book re-publication, after Marlowe became a hot commodity.) Variety explains that “‘Trouble Is My Business’ was chosen partly because it provides the actor with a … chance to frame the narrative with a compelling voiceover, using Chandler’s hardboiled prose as hard-drinking private eye Philip Marlowe cracks cases, busts heads and romances femmes fatales in 1940s Los Angeles.” Owen, who previously worked with Miller on the 2005 film Sin City, is quoted as saying that “Frank Miller knows more about noir than anyone I have ever met, and clearly the writing of Raymond Chandler has been an enormous influence on his life and his work. Miller adapting Chandler seemed like a perfect match.” I have to confess, I’m not entirely cynical about this project. Miller does seem like he could handle Chandler’s source material with care and complexity, and the idea of Owen playing Marlowe is growing on me--just so long as the actor can expunge those euphonious British vowels from his voice.

Murderati reports that Irish novelist Ken Bruen (Cross) “will be presented with the first ever David L. Goodis Award at NoirCon in Philadelphia, PA. The conference, slated for April 3-6, 2008, follows in the footsteps of last year’s GoodisCon, with plans for an annual celebration of the past, present and future of Noir in all its forms.”

• The latest willing victim of Ben Hunt’s “10 Questions” interrogation over at Material Witness is Alafair Burke, daughter of James Lee Burke (Tin Roof Blowdown) and author of the new novel Dead Connection. Read her responses here.

• Speaking of questions, the ever-funny Duane Swierczynski (The Blonde, Severance Package) answers more than 10 of them for Lance Carter of Murder & Mystery Books 101. My personal favorite quote is in response to Carter’s question, “What is a typical writing day for you like?” Says Swierczynski:
It’s more like a typical writing “night”--most of my fiction is written from about 9 or 10 p.m. until whenever. And then I do block out some weekend mornings, too. If you were to videotape me writing, it’d be the most boring thing ever to appear on a screen: a pale, doughy Polish dude typing away on an iMac, sometimes with a pair of headphones wrapped around his oversized head. Writing: it’s damn sexy!
Yeah, we’ve all been there …

• For The Guardian, master British anthologist Maxim Jakubowski picks up today on The Rap Sheet’s recent post about the proliferation of trees crime novel jackets. In his piece, he recounts how one of his own books wound up sporting a tree on its cover--to the benefit of both publisher and editor, it seems. Read his report here.

• And finally, Alaskan author Dana Stabenow (A Deeper Sleep) shares her TBR list with us at Writers Read.

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