Not a Blog

Cooters Invade Montreal?

November 5, 2021 at 7:20 am
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Maybe.   Probably.   (We hope, we hope).

We made a little short film of Howard Waldrop’s classic short story NIGHT OF THE COOTERS back in August, right here in Santa Fe.   From a script by Joe R. Lansdale, directed by and starring Vincent d’Onofrio.   Shot the whole thing green screen, then turned it over to the wizards at Trioscope Productions (https://www.trioscopestudios.com ) who are adding… well, pretty much everything except the actors and the horses.

The film probably won’t be finished until next March.   Maybe February, if we are lucky.

But Howard Waldrop is going to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in Montreal, the first weekend of November.   He will not be able to attend to accept in person, alas… but we wanted to mark the occasion somehow, so we’re working as fast as we can to finish a short teaser / trailer for NIGHT OF THE COOTERS that can be shown at the con.   A little treat for all the Waldrop fans.

I hope we finish it in time.  I hope those of you attending the con will see it.   I hope you will love it.

Did I mention that this honor for H’ard is well deserved?   And long long overdue?

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

The Cooters Are Coming!

August 24, 2021 at 7:14 pm
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Howard Waldrop will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention in Montreal a few months hence. It’s well deserved. There has been no finer short story writer in all of science fiction and fantasy in the past half century than H’ard. No one else writes like Waldrop. And Howard never writes the same story twice.

His best story? Damned hard to say. So many classics.

But one of them, surely surely, is “Night of the Cooters,” a finalist for the Hugo Award and Locus Award (did not win either, alas), and the title story of his second short story collection. Inspired by H.G. Wells and WAR OF THE WORLDS, it is all about the time the Martians invaded Pachuco, Texas.

And now, I am thrilled to announce, the Cooters are coming to the big screen.

Or maybe the small screen. Or the medium-sized screen. But some kind of screen, anyway. Right here in Santa Fe, we have just wrapped principal photography for a brand new film version of the Waldrop classic. “Night of the Cooters” is a short story, and our version is going to be a short film. I’d guess it will come in somewhere between 20 and 30 minutes, shot with a combination of live action and state-of-the-art animation. If you loved the story, we think you will love our movie.

Howard has been part of the project since the start, of course. (The start being some five/six years ago).

The screenplay was written by JOE LANSDALE, and who better? The Sage of Nacogdoches, Texas is a major writer in his own right, author of the Hap & Leonard series and about a zillion other books and stories, writer of thrillers, horror stories, science fiction, westerns, historicals, and all manner of other cool stuff.

Directing, and starring as Sheriff Lindley, is the one and only VINCENT D’ONOFRIO.

If you have seen any television or film in the past thirty years or so, you know the work of Vincent D’Onofrio. He was Detective Goren in LAW & ORDER: CRIMINAL INTENT. He was Private Pyle in FULL METAL JACKET. He was the young fisherman who gets jilted at the altar in MYSTIC PIZZA. He was the alien in MEN IN BLACK. He’s the Kingpin in Marvel’s DAREDEVIL series. And… probably my favorite of his roles… he was Robert E. Howard in THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD (a wonderful film that deserved a LOT more attention than it got). And more and more. You can check out the full list of his credits on IMDB. He’s simply an extraordinary actor, with a range second to no one, and it was such an honor to work with him.

He’s also a terrific director.

The supporting cast includes Hopper Penn as Sweets, Harrison Page as Luther, Martin Sensmeier as Leo Smith, Cristin McCleary as Atkins, Elias Gallegos as DeSpain, Luce Rains as Skip, Jazzy Kim O’Brien as Lil’ Chisum, and Darius Eteeyan as Billy Strother.

And what about the Cooters, you may ask?

The cooters will be supplied for us by Trioscope Studios. Check out their website at https://www.trioscopestudios.com/ for a smaple of their work… or watch their WWII film THE LIBERATORS on Netflix.

The producers of NIGHT OF THE COOOTERS — in no particular order — are Vincent D’Onofrio, Justin Duval, Joe Dean, Taylor Church, Martin Sensmeier, L.C. Crowly, Greg Jonkajtys, Elias Gallegos, Lenore Gallegos, Amy Filbeck, Joe Lansdale, and Howard Waldrop His Own Self.

And me… though I rather think I may credit myself as The Big Cooter.

When and where will you be able to see NIGHT OF THE COOTERS?

Well, that’s hard to say. We shot everything on green screen, so the post production process is going to be a lengthy one. The ball has now been passed to our friends at Trioscope, who will supply the backgrounds and special effects. We are thinking the final cut won’t be ready until early next year. And once the film is complete… well, alas, I doubt it will be showing at a multiplex near you. It’s a short film, as I said, and shorts just don’t get the distribution of full-length features. They hardly get any distribution at all, sad to say. I expect we will enter COOTERS in some film festivals here and there. Maybe some streamer will pick it up. Maybe we can release it on DVD or Blu-Ray. Maybe we can make a few more Waldrop movies and assemble them all into an anthology of sorts, like CREEPSHOW or TWILIGHT ZONE. One thing I can promise: we will be having a premiere somewhere down the line at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe.

Howard never made much money off his stories. I expect his film won’t make much money either. But that’s not point.

Some stories just need to be told. Some movies just need to be made. Call it a labor of love.

Coming… Eventually… Maybe

March 11, 2021 at 9:39 am
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The story about the adaptation of IN THE LOST LANDS broke a week or so back.

And now, hard on the heels of that, comes the announcement  about another story of mine being developed as a movie.

“Sandkings” was the story I was best known for, before A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE came along.   Originally published in OMNI, it went on to win the Hugo,  Nebula, and Locus Awards (my only triple crown), and has been anthologized and reprinted more times than I can count.   It was filmed once before as well, as the two-hour premiere episode of the revived OUTER LIMITS.   Melinda Snodgrass did the adaptation; Beau Bridges starred, with his father and his son in supporting roles.

Now the story is in development once again… this time as a feature film rather than a television episode.

Gore Verbinski, the acclaimed director of RANGO, THE RING, PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN, and many other films, will helm the project.   Dennis Kelly, creator of UTOPIA, is writing the script, which promises to be a closer adaptation than the OUTER LIMITS version.   The new version will have a much bigger budget as well; the OUTER LIMITS simply did not have the money to do all the things that they wanted to do.

You can read all the details here:

https://collider.com/sandkings-movie-netflix-gore-verbinski-george-rr-martin/

or here:

Gore Verbinski to Direct Adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s Sandkings

We are still in the early stages of development, to be sure.   Dennis Kelly is only now writing the script.   Many things are developed and only a few are ever filmed, so please remember that… it could be a year or two or three before this comes to Netflix, if indeed it ever does.   But we have a great team on it, so I am hopeful.   Cross your fingers and pray for Simon Kress.   (Or don’t).

I am not quite sure why all these stories seem to be breaking now.   The SANDKINGS project has been underway for more than a year (Covid obviously shut things down) and IN THE LOST LANDS for something like six years.   We also have an animated feature of THE ICE DRAGON in development at Warner’s (as it happens I wrote “Sandkings” and “The Ice Dragon” within a couple weeks of each other, during a Christmas break from my job teaching college in Dubuque, Iowa — that was a good break).

And that’s just in the feature sphere.   In television, as seen here, I am working with Kalinda Vazquez on a pilot for Roger Zelazny’s ROADMARKS, and I am part of the terrific team that is trying to bring Nnedi Okorafor’s WHO FEARS DEATH to series on HBO.   I think we’re finally getting close on that one; we’ve been interviewing possible directors lately, and the last one was VERY impressive.   Of course there’s HOUSE OF THE DRAGON at HBO, the GAME OF THRONES prequel series that Ryan and Miguel are helming, and maybe possibly some other stuff for HBO that I cannot tell you about (but it is very exciting), and also a new series for AMC that I also cannot tell you about… yet… (hint, hint).

Oh, and there’s FRIENDS FOREVER.   Just a short film, maybe twenty minutes long.   A labor of love, that I hope you’ll love as much as I do.  That one will happen, if the pandemic ever allows it.   If not for Covid, we would have shot it already.   It is the first of four shorts that I hope to film, based on classic short stories by one of the most idiosyncratic writers our field has ever produced.

That’s what’s on my plate in television and film.

You all know what is on my plate in prose.   I need to finish WINDS, and then maybe write another Dunk & Egg novella, and then get right into A DREAM OF SPRING, and in between edit some more Wild Cards books.

Once more into the breach, dear friends… Westeros beckons.

 

Current Mood: busy busy

Gray Alys on the Silver Screen

March 4, 2021 at 2:12 pm
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I cannot seem to keep out of the news these days.

The latest story to break:

https://ew.com/movies/milla-jovovich-paul-w-s-anderson-in-the-lost-lands-dave-bautista/   

“In the Lost Lands” was one of my earliest fantasy stories (most of my work in the 70s was science fiction), the first tale of the mysterious Gray Alys, an enigmatic sorceress who would sell you anything you might desire… though her customers soon learned that you buy from her at your peril.   No doubt my long-time fans all recall the twelve classic tales I wrote about Gray Alys and her customers, which were later collected in the….. WHOA, WHOA, wait a second.   That’s all wrong.   Another of those pesky alternate world memories.   No, truth to tell, I meant to write a whole series of Gray Alys stories, I really did, I even began a second and penned a few of the opening pages… but one day I put it aside and I never got back to it.   In the end I only wrote one Gray Alys story.

“In the Lost Lands.”

And now the story is coming to the big screen.   Paul W.S. Anderson, director of Monster Hunter, Pompeii, and several Resident Evils, will helm the film.   Milla Jovovich will star as Gray Alys, with Dave Bautista of Guardians of the Galaxy as Boyce, who leads her into the Lost Lands.  German film director Constantin Werner, who first optioned the story and tried to get the film made for years,  will be among the producers.

And who knows?   If the movie is a big hit, maybe there will be sequels, and Gray Alys will finally get her series after all.

(So many years have passed, I no longer recall why I never finished that second story.   I loved the character.  Still do.   And there were secrets I meant to reveal in those unwritten stories, and a whole complex backstory, and and and… sigh.  Where do the years go?)

 

 

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

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Emerging From Hyperspace

September 7, 2020 at 11:00 am
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Those electronic tonalities you hear are the United Planets cruise c-57-D emerging from hyperspace at  to investigate the fate of the Bellerophon expedition.  The Bellerophon was supposed to be exploring the fourth planet of the great main sequence star Altair, but we have it on good authority that they actually ended up at Beastly Books on Montezuma Street in Santa Fe, NM, Land of Enchantment.

We are sure that Dr. Morbius , his lovely daughter Altaira, and Robby the Robot will make them welcome.

Come on by Beastly Books, have a coffee, buy a book or three, and say hi to Commander Adams, Doc, and Altaira.   But please don’t feed the Monsters from the Id.

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

The Martians Are Here

September 7, 2020 at 10:30 am
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The world is in trouble.

As if all our other woes were not enough, a huge smoking meteor came crashing down from space a few days ago and landed in the midst of Santa Fe’s historic Railyard District, between the Jean Cocteau Cinema and the Santa Fe Southern Railroad.   When some of my staff went to investigate the crater it left, waving a white flag and chanting “Welcome to the Land of Enchantment,” a heat ray on a long neck emerged and vaporized them.

And then THIS emerged from the crater, making ominous noses and glowing.

The Martians are here, the Martians are here..

You can see their war machine yourself at Beastly Books.

Quick, someone, sneeze on them!  It’s our only hope!

Current Mood: geeky geeky

Bloggity Bloggity

May 25, 2020 at 8:00 am
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History buffs, baseball fans, and Wild Carders alike will enjoy the newest post on the Wild Cards blog, John Jos. Miller’s “Annotated Long Night at the Palmer House,” touching on all the references, hidden and fictional, in his acclaimed LOW CHICAGO interstitial.

The Annotated “A Long Night At The Palmer House”

When he is not writing Wild Cards stories or watching the New York Mets, John is a huge fan of… ah… strange cinema.   Of late he has been doing some fun blog posts for our friends over at BLACK GATE, talking about some of his odder favorites.  Check it out at:

https://www.blackgate.com/2020/05/12/son-of-19-movies-the-good-the-bad-and-the-weird-edition/#more-427597

 

Current Mood: amused amused

At the Irish Film Institute with Robby the Robot

September 12, 2019 at 10:59 am
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One of the highlights of my time in Dublin was my visit to Altair IV, courtesy of the kind folks at the Irish Film Institute.  The IFI has an impressive facility there in Temple Bar, and as part of the celebrations of worldcon, they invited me to present one of my favorite films, and speak about why I loved it.   I was delighted to do so.

No one who knows me or has read this blog for long will be even remotely surprised by the movie I chose: the MGM science fiction film, FORBIDDEN PLANET, from 1956, a classic whose influence on all the SF films and television shows that followed was profound.   Starring Leslie Nielsen, Walter Pidgeon, Anne Francis, and Robby the Robot.

((I couldn’t bring Robby with me to Dublin, alas, but I did bring Commander J.J. Adams and Altaira)). 

Maura McHugh joined me afterwards for a discussion of the film, and some Q&A with the audience.  Listen in, if you’d like (sorry, it’s audio only).   And then go out and watch the movie again.   It’s still great… and I hope to hell that they NEVER remake it.   They’d only mess it up.

Current Mood: geeky geeky

More Maltin

July 5, 2019 at 3:29 pm
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For those who missed it…

A video of our event with Leonard and Jessie Maltin at the Jean Cocteau is now available.   Enjoy it at:

A selection of SIGNED books by Leonard Maltin is available from the JCC bookshop:

https://jeancocteaucinema.com/product-category/signed-books/

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy

GRRM Talks JRRT

April 29, 2019 at 3:57 pm
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Modern fantasy would not exist without J.R.R. Tolkien and LORD OF THE RINGS… and that most definitely includes my own A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE.   Tolkien’s work redefined fantasy, and all of us who have followed in his footsteps owe him a profound debt.

But who was the man behind the Shire, the Hobbits, and the One Ring?

TOLKIEN, the new motion picture about JRRT’s early life, aspires to answer that question.

I’m thrilled to say that I’m heading out to LA for the premiere, May 8 at the Regency Westwood Village.   After the film, I will be moderating a discussion and Q-and-A with stars Nicholas Hoult, Lily Collins, and director Dome Karukoski.

 

For those of you who cannot make it to the premiere in person, have no fear.   We’ll be streaming the Q&A on Facebook.

 Head to the TOLKIEN Facebook page (@TolkienFilm) and tune into the Live Stream that will start at 9PM PST. Here is the link to the Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/TolkienFilm/  

See you in the Shire!

 

Current Mood: bouncy bouncy