Thursday, March 15, 2007

Carl Franklin; Mystery Scene*

From copyright 2007

By Micah Robinson
Contributing sources: Variety

A little earlier this month, I brought you news of a new Halle Berry picture based on the real life incident in Tulia, Texas where half the town’s black male population was convicted and imprisoned in an absurdly shaky drug bust devoid of
any physical evidence whatsoever and based solely on the word of one rather undependable white cop. The film, Tulia, is going to be made by Lionsgate under
the direction of Carl Franklin.

Now comes word that the film will be hosting two reunions of sorts. They’ve just cast Billy Bob Thornton to star in it, so he would not only be reuniting with Berry after their Monster’s Ball, but also with Franklin, who directed Thornton in his first major theatrical film as one of the murderous leads in One False Move. Franklin’s also doing a rewrite of the script. There hasn’t been definite word on Thornton’s role, but I would imagine he’d have to be portraying corrupt police officer Tom Coleman, the man who instigated the entire incident.

I’m hoping that the pic will get past the obvious injustice done to these folks to look at the root causes that could not allow for something like this to happen in
a small southern town, but for it to be applauded by the townspeople and ignored nationally for far too long before something was done about it. This wasn’t an incident that occurred in 1939 or 1959. This was 1999, and for all of our talk and self-congratulations on how much progress we’ve made, incidents like this are ugly reminders of how deep the sickness goes and endures.

Ed here: For all the faux noir (guys who read a lot about the skids but have never lived them out) it is rare that we find a screenplay written by somebody who's been there. It's even rarer that the screenplay is then directed by a man or woman who understands the streets AND the actors it takes to embody those streets.

For me the best hardboiled film since Chinatown was One False Move. Not a fake moment in it. Not in the writing, acting or directing. So to me it's great news
that Carl Franklin is working again with Billy Bob Thornton. If this pcture even comes close to their previous teaming--and there's certainly that potential given the material--it will be a fine fine film. And with Halle Berry as a bonus!


Mystery Scene

For eighteen years I edited Mystery Scene magazine. By the end of my tenure I was completely out of ideas about how to improve it and thus take it up a notch or two.

Fortunately, Kate Stine bought the magazine and along with her husband Brian
Skupin proceeded to make it the pre-eminent news and feature magazine of the
mystery field. Hardboiled or cozy, old novels or new, movies, audio, tv…whatever aspect of mystery fiction interests you you'll find it in Mystery Scene. And presented in a package that's professional, easy to read and worthy of design and layout awards.

If you read only one magazine for mystery news and views, this should be the one. Accept no substitutes or imitators. Mystery Scene is the real deal. And that goes for advertisers, too. If you want THE news magazine for reaching readers and
buyers, Mystery Scene is the only place to go.


Anonymous said...

Couldn't disagree more, Ed. For me, CRIMESPREE is the superior product. It may not be as slick and flashy as MYSTERY SCENE, but it's loaded with much greater depth and does a much better job with crime noir, which MYSTERY SCENE seems to ignore. For cozies, MS may be the best, but CRIMESPREE is the one that I chose to subscribe to, after reading both magazines for a while.

Jay W.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jay

By putting Mystery Scene up I wasn't intending to put any other publication down. My point in talking about MS was that Kate and Brian had improved on my work many times over in terms of focus, layout and general professionalism. I was just congratulating them on their hard work and creative changes.

I'm well aware there are many other excellent mystery publications. I'm a big fan of Deadly Pleasures, for just one instance.

Mystery Scene certainly doesn't deal only with cozies. Maybe you mean that anything that isn't hardboiled is cozy. But there's the great middle range of books that belong to no publishing niche and that's what MS tends to look at. Though with Kevin Burton Smith and a few others, I'd say that the hardboiled coverage is excellent.

I included the tip to advertisers because I spent twenty years in the woebegone field of adverts myself. With MS you reach the greatest number of readers and the greatest number of newstands. Again, I wasn't putting anybody else down. I was simply saying that Kate and Brian did a much better job of getting the magazine on newstands than I ever did after eighteen years of trying.

Finally, this is just my opinion as is anything I write. I'm glad you enjoy Crimespree. It obviously serves your interest better than Mystery Scene.

I appreciate you reading my blog. Thanks for writing.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply, Ed, and yes, I do enjoy your work and your blog. I just have definitive opinions about my magazines!