Tuesday, August 20, 2013

R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

HI folks,

This is a sad, sad day. The genius Elmore Leonard passed away from complications from a stroke. He was 87. I just learned this and my thoughts are flying everywhere. I'm incoherent and profoundly saddened.

Leonard was one of the "good guys" in literature. He inherited that "built-in bullshit detector" from Hemingway. His work was so strong, so honest, so brilliant. The very clearest of  vision.

My favorite of his books is KILLSHOT. It's also the only one that Hollywood didn't pervert when they made it into a movie. Hollywood saw most of his work--especially in the last twenty years--as broad comedy, rather than the black comedy he actually wrote. He said the same thing himself. He kept offering up a particular actor who he wanted to play the lead in many of his movies--sorry, can't remember the name but my friend Carl Brush does--Carl? Who was the actor Leonard always wanted? Once you see who he always wanted, you understand his books a lot better.

The movie they made of KILLSHOT was frickin' pitch-perfect. Again, I don't know who the director was, but he understood Leonard. And the casting director also understood him. They picked Mickey Rourke to be the lead and Rourke is the perfect choice for a Leonard character. Which is why it went direct-to-video, I suspect. It was too dark for the suits in Hollywood who don't much get black comedy. They don't usually see the difference between that and broad comedy.

I don't have a bunch of clips and photos--sorry!--but just a recommendation. If you haven't read KILLSHOT, get a copy and read it. It doesn't get any better than this.

Blue skies,


Roland D. Yeomans said...

Thanks for letting me know about Elmore Leonard. As a rare blood courier, I am out of the loop on a lot of things in the news.

VALDEZ IS COMING is one of my favorite movies of his, and it stayed fairly true to the spirit of his novel.

I wrote of Mr. Leonard on my own blog, and I pointed my friends to this post. Thanks again.

Les Edgerton said...

I liked Valdez as a movie also. I was speaking more of the movies in the past 20 years. His westerns are done pretty good, especially early on. It's the black comedy crime novels I see them missing the boat on.

A rare blood courier! That brings up bad memories. When I was in the Navy I was always giving blood, being O negative...