Jim Mickle & Nick Damici are working to bring the Joe Lansdale East Texas crime fighting duo to series via the Sundance Channel. Mickle directed and cowrote (with Damici) the little film that could We are What We Are, which was a middling effort at best, but showed so much promise that after all the great reviews of his latest film Cold in July, I think it is fine to at least pull out that hooch you been saving for special occasions- you know, the one that doesn’t make you blind.
Cold in July, for those of you who haven’t started this amazing thing called reading yet, is based on one of Joe Lansdale’s early novels from way back in 1989- that’s when Batman came out, guys- starring Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard and Don Johnson. After a successful run of Sundance with more than glowing reviews IFC picked it up and we will see a simultaneous release theatrically and on-demand in the Summer of this year.
The road to Hollywood stardom has been an elusive one for Joe Lansdale, although he has stated on many occasions that he his bank account has been more than generously filled with LaLa Land’s Option money for his Hap & Leonard series and many others. BUT! nothing much has come of it.
Hollywood has always been afraid of a cross genre offerings and the Hap & Leonard series is just as hard to pin down. Easy to mention how funny they are, but each of the books in the series are from different genres, Savage Season is straight up crime story, complete with bank robbery money. Mucho Mojo, a Gothic Thriller. Two-Bear Mambo is a sweaty race war piece. Captains Outrageous, a sort of destination mystery. How do you sell that to Fly-over America? It’s a thriller! No, It’s a comedy! Oh you poor Hollywood saps, how hard your life must be trying to speak to the lowest common denominator instead of letting the work find its audience.
For those thinking of picking up one of those things called books (paper with words in them that form sentences, and in turn paragraphs and finally chapters- Sorry, no pictures) let me take a moment to tell you what you are in for:
Hap & Leonard are two middle-aged, East Texas, best-friends just trying to do right by the world and to themselves. Hap Collins is a working class laborer, well read and an almost Superman-like altruistic need to save everyone who asks for help. Leonard Pin is a gay, black man, served in Vietnam with a penchant for Vanilla Cookies and Dr. Pepper, and burning down Crack Houses on a whim. The series has them helping out acquaintances solve ever more violent crimes that slowly through the series begins to have a sobering affect on Hap.
With the solid gold work of FX’s Justified laying the ground work for gritty crime drama that still has a fair share of comedy the world might finally be ready for the dynamic duo who’s stories span 8 novels, 2 novellas and a short story. I know I am. Now, where are they going to find a Ginger Midget?