Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ken They Do It? Yes They Ken …

There’s a story about Sir Kenneth of Bruen (right) that may or may not be apocryphal, even though he tells it himself, about the time he did a reading alongside a well-known British author. The lady in question was first up on the podium, and held up a copy of her latest novel, and a copy of Ken’s, which latter was noticeably slimmer than her own doorstop. “That,” she said, indicating her novel, “is what I call value for money.” Cue hoots of laughter, the jape being done in the spirit of joie de vivre, etc. Ken being up next, he held up the same two books, and indicated the well-known British author’s novel. “That,” he said, “is what one of my books looks like before I take out all the crap …”
  Ken’s books are, of course, so stripped down they’re in danger of being done for public indecency. Which may or may not explain why he’s bagged so many movie options recently: the novels are so sparely written, they are – c.f. James M. Cain – practically movie scripts even before some cack-handed screenwriter gets his grubby mitts on them.
  As Gerard Brennan reports over at CSNI – where he scoops me yet again, natch – Ken’s ONCE WERE COPS has just been picked up by yet another Tinseltown outfit, which makes it three novels he’s got in the movie pipeline now: BLITZ, with Jude Law on board; LONDON BOULEVARD, with Colin Farrell and Kiera Knightley; and ONCE WERE COPS. I’m also hearing rumours that an Irish production company have picked up THE GUARDS, and have optioned the entire Jack Taylor series, with a view to committing the battered bard of Galway to celluloid.
  The Big Question: Has the long overdue arrival of the Jack Taylor novels on the movie-making scene come too late for the man who was at one point so hotly tipped to play Taylor, David Soul?
  The Bigger Question: Who should play Jack Taylor in the movies?

UPDATE: a little bird gets in touch all the way from Galway to say that I should keep my shell-like to the ground for news on AMERICAN SKIN getting a movie deal … in, like, the next day or so. Crikey! They’ll have to invent a new Oscar at this rate. “And the Oscar for Best Movie Adapted from a Ken Bruen Novel is …”


Corey Wilde said...

David f'ing Soul? Are you kidding me? Sure, yes, of course. You must be. Whew.

Declan Burke said...

Corey - No, I'm not kidding. Seriously. Why, what's wrong with David Soul?

Cheers, Dec

Josephine Damian said...

"some cack-handed screenwriter"

*ahem* I resemble that remark.

Seriously, it's a trend here in the US to write in a way that I call "writing with one eye on the screen."

Meaning you write more action/dialogue that internal thought/internal confict, and throw the POV rules out the window.

Grisham and a lot of other big name "novelists" write like that, but I sure don't read those types of book because I don't consider them true novels.

And there's a belief here that the better the book, the harder to turn it into a screenplay, and the worse the book, the easier it is to turn into a screenplay.

Declan Burke said...

"There's a belief here that the better the book, the harder to turn it into a screenplay, and the worse the book, the easier it is to turn into a screenplay."

God, what a depressing thought, Josephine ... That pretty much means it makes (financial) sense, in the short-term at least, to concentrate on adapting bad novels ...

Then again, Ken - bless his cotton socks - is the exception that proves most rules ...

Cheers, Dec

Corey Wilde said...

It's only that I think the producers would opt for a younger star, in case Jack Taylor became a franchise character in films. Once upon a time, David Soul, okay, I can see that. He had a look that would have sold Jack Taylor perfectly.

But you know how we Yanks are obsessed with youth.

Stuart Neville said...

Re the update - Bloody hell! Mr. Bruen is red hot right now.