Thursday, May 31, 2012

CrimeFest - Lee Child Interview

Peter Guttridge interviews Lee Child at Crimefest 2012

Peter opens the interview with the Tom Cruise issue to get it out of the way (takes 15 minutes to answer but of course very interesting stuff)

At the first meeting with Hollywood people LC is
mostly obsessed about 8 dollar water from Norway. How can it be $8? Used it in a later book.

Many big stars have been interested in playing Reacher, LC recounts time he was on train from Manchester to Norwich (these are small trains) and he had George Clooney on the phone! However through working in tv from a young age he is somewhat jaded - met Laurence Olivier when he was 22/23.

Reacher is defined by three things; physicality, intelligent and lacking inhibitions - so very difficult to find actor that fit. Keanu Reeves was interested at one point. They had assumed physicality would be a deal breaker but a year ago they had an epiphany - lose physicality and that meant TC could do the role as he is a good actor and could convey the other two important elements. Need a director who can boss stars around and Christopher McQuarry who wrote The Unusual Suspects, though he is younger than TC he can control him. Film shot in Pittsburgh. You have to have "people" with you in Hollywood so took daughter with him to meet Tom Cruise and they spent a bit of time with Katie and Suri. LC had built up height difference in his mind and then found TC is just a normal sized guy! Werner Hertzog who plays the villain is outrageous, stealing any scene he's within a mile of.

As a movie [One Shot] is going to be a terrific crime movie especially if you've not not read Reacher. If you have read Reacher you may have a WTF feeling for a few minutes but hopefully will enjoy it.

LC makes you two promises - he won't force you to go to the movies and TC won't come to your house and steal your books.

There is some feeling that a book is not thought good enough unless its been on tv/film.Writers are often asked whether a person would have seen their books on tv or film.

LC is happy with possibly two or three films but worries quality will go down eg Prime Suspect. Bad Luck and Trouble could be the third film. Stumbling block is the second one, possibly The Hard Way.

LC in movie as the desk sergeant giving Reacher back his toothbrush.

[I've heard since that the title has changed to Reacher (rather than One Shot)]

A Polish band have done a thrash album with each track a Reacher novel.This didn't affect Reacher nor will film. Unlike with Morse where the books changed and even Bond got Scottish ancestors.In the next book, A Wanted Man - LC re-emphasises Reacher's size as a statement of intent.

LC was a talent spotter in old job, knew Michael Connelly would be big. Sue Grafton was a massive influence on LC. Kinsey Milhone and VI W were first detectives who were real - did laundry. Reacher's Laundry issue a direct result of KM laundry. Reacher was to have no job, no location, no cutesy name eg Hieronymous, Elvis. Liberating. LC loves first few pages as knows he hasn't screwed it up yet. The Western (as in cowboys) hero is adapted from medieval European tradition. Great if they come in fix problem and crucially... move on! Made Reacher a Major, like a knight, but his experience doesn't really fit with being a Major, done for dramatic effect rather than plausible. Majors and below love Reacher in military above hate him as what a nightmare he would be to manage.

Q: Reacher inherits house in fourth book, was he tempted to settle him down?
Shows how respected Reacher is by old boss giving him house. LC hates houses but has bought one in England for anglophile wife and is bemused to find himself Life Member of National Trust.

Q: Any more e-novellas?
Second Son was a down and dirty commercial thing to remind readers of Reacher's brother as he hadn't been mentioned for several books and to drive preorders for new book. A second novella. Deep Down is being written at the moment.

Q: Appeal of Reacher to women?

1. Women more visceral reaction to injustice. Reacher has a feminine type of justice, the arc of the book is turning unfair to fair.
2. Women find it hard to express outrage (still called shrill rather than assertive)
3. Reacher respects and likes women; equal, competent characters.
4. Want to get laid, Reacher is ultimate safe affair: never write, never call, never return. Older women want to look after him, younger 48hrs leg over.

Q: Unresolved phantom from 61 Hours
61 Hours was the the last book in his contract; never takes it for granted that he will get renewed contract so was writing to let it stand as end of series. All the information is in the book as to how he escaped. Not as obvious as in a tv programme. The "to be continued" was not in his original manuscript, but put in by publisher. Worth Dying For is not supposed to be a sequel, rather a separate story.

Lee Child's bibliography on Euro Crime (with reviews).

1 comment:

Maxine Clarke said...

Very nice write-up, thank you! I wish his later Reacher books were as good as his early ones, though I am sure he is crying all the way to the bank.