Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Criminal Roundup

I just love the title to David Morrell’s next novel, THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS. He explained it is an action thriller set in Santa Fe that reinterprets the traditional Nativity story told from a spy's perspective. It will be published this coming October. In the meanwhile, if you are having Morrell Withdrawal Symptoms, you can pick up his latest novel, SCAVENGER (out in the UK this March published by Headline), it doesn’t disappoint.

Like every red-blooded male, I could sit and watch Kate Beckinsale regardless of whatever she appears in. I loved her strutting her stuff in Van Helsing and Underworld. So think of how delighted I was to read that she is going to star in the up-coming action thriller called Whiteout. The film is based on Greg Rucka's comic book series that was also called Whiteout.Kate will play Carrie Stetko, a U.S. Marshal assigned to Antarctica. According to Cinematical Stetko has just three days to find a murderer before winter arrives and there is no more daylight -- leaving Stetko stuck in Antarctica in the dark with the killer. Filming begins in Montreal in March with Dominic Sena at the helm (he of Swordfish and Gone in Sixty Seconds fame).You can read more about the Whiteout comics here on Greg Rucka's website. Whiteout was originally published as a series of four comics. There is also a trade paperback that compiles issues 1 through 4.


I read Susan Mansfield’s article in the Scotsman Online which focuses on the new breed of Tartan Noir authors who include Allan Guthrie, Lin Anderson and Jon McGregor.
Phew, it’s a job to keep up with these “new” crime and thriller authors popping up across the border. And that got me to thinking about what other UK Noir Packs we have out there.
We tend to go for a generic area as opposed to north, south, east or west. Obviously Ken Bruen heads the Irish Noir Gang (although John Connolly might like to lay claim to the crown). Do we have Welsh Noir? I suppose candidates for this would be Malcolm Pryce and Bill James. I don’t think we have Norfolk Noir, West Country Noir or even Essex Noir (come on Ripley, make me look a liar). There has been the emergence of London Noir, Dublin Noir and Nottingham Noir. But I can’t really see Oxford Noir or Cheltenham Noir or even Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch Noir taking off, can you?


I hear that Stephen Frears (The Queen, The Hit & The Grifters) is to executive produce a new film, based around the events that led up to and included the death of Brazilian, death of Jean Charles de Menezes. The film is said to be a human drama, rather than a political one, and will highlight the life of de Menezes who was mistaken for a suicide bomber in London shot by police. The film will also show the impact his death had on the South American community in London. The film will be directed by Henrique Goldman and made by Mango Films. Did you know that Frears turned down the chance to take the film option for Nick Stone’s Mr. Clarinet? Not a lot of people know that, to quote some old codger.

Perhaps Frears should note that in Bordertown, which Jennifer Lopez co-produced, Lopez plays a fictional Chicago journalist who reports on the serial murders of several women in the down of Ciudad Juarez, including searching for the attackers of a young Indian woman who was raped and left for dead. E Canada Now reports that the preview audience was upset with the fact that director Gregory Nava chose to make a thriller out of the disturbing real-life investigation of so many murders. But while the press screening of Bordertown may not have gone as planned, it was met with a loud chorus of boos at the end, the film, which also stars Antonio Banderas and Martin Sheen, it gained its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival later.


De Niro hopes "Shepherd" first of 3 Cold War films

Robert De Niro said on Saturday the Cold War has captivated his imagination since he was a child and hopes to turn his directing effort "The Good Shepherd" into a trilogy of films on the U.S.-Soviet rivalry.
"I'm fascinated by the Cold War," De Niro told a news conference after his third directing effort -- a rather dark look at CIA's origins and its controversial methods --made its international premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

"Especially the Cold War in Berlin," he added, where his film is competing for a Golden Bear. "As a kid I was here a few times and went to East Berlin. I found the whole period amazing. It's fascinating stuff. Everybody has a fascination with it."
De Niro, 63, directed the film starring Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, which drew cheers from a packed press screening. He also had a small role in his film, which starts on the eve of World War Two era and concludes with the Bay of Pigs debacle.
"I'd love to do a second part, from 1961 when the Berlin Wall went up to 1989 when the Wall fell," said De Niro, who added he spent parts of the last 12 years working on the film. "And then I'd like to do a third part from 1989 to the present."
De Niro said the Cold War might never really be over.
"I always wondered before 'When the Cold war ended, would it ever be over?'. I used to think the other shoe's going to drop. It dropped. Nuclear weapons are easier to get and more countries are getting them. It's a little scarey when you think about it."

His film, told through the eyes of a young CIA agents played by Damon, portrays a menacing CIA, its covert activities, and a nefarious power -- which confirms stereotypes of the CIA held in many countries outside the United States.
But De Niro, who also directed "A Bronx Tale" in 1993 and "The Score" in 2001, was reluctant to tell a crowded press conference of European journalists what most wanted to hear.
"It's not a criticism," he said when asked if the film was an attack of the CIA. "I don't want to criticise. I just put the things down in as straight-forward, direct and honest way as I could."


Allan Guthrie said...

Welsh noir: John Williams. West Country noir: Charlie Williams.

Kevin Wignall said...

Good God, Sir, how dare you! I think I can claim Cheltenham Noir for my own, given that it's merely 7 miles away and my nearest county town. Technically, I can also adopt West Country noir as Gloucestershire falls within that jurisdiction. However, Al, Charlie is across the border in Worcestershire and therefore exempt. Between us though, we could form the Three Counties Noir collective. Er... not really scaring anyone, am I?

Charlie Williams said...

"Three Counties Noir"... Jesus, that's inspired. We could get a stand at the Three Counties Show, between the vintage tractors and the prize bulls. Actually I am exempt from all of these labels, if you want to get technical. Mangel exists in no recognised British county. Yet there are bits of it in all of them.

Kevin Wignall said...

Likewise, Charlie, I should really only be entitled to appear under the label Swiss Noir because it's the country that appears most regularly in my work (alongside Bavaria and Austria - maybe Cuckoo Noir?).

However, I do think the idea of us having a stand at the Three Counties Show is a goer - and from there we can launch an armed assault on the Hay Book Festival!

Charlie Williams said...

I think the armed assault idea is great. But it would be better setting up base a couple of miles West from the show ground, in West Malvern. From there we could launch scud missiles to soften the target area, before moving in in our (stolen) Range Rovers. Mind you, it is a long and tortuous road to Hay, no matter from where you come.

Mike Stotter said...

Thanks Hard Man, Kevin and Charlie for the big slap on the wrist. No slight intended, I assure you.
Kevin, no doubt Russell James would want to join the merry band of Cheltenham Noir. I love the idea of "Three Counties Noir" and the armed assault on the Hay Festival. Aim one at Melvyn Bragg for me.