Friday, October 12, 2007

That Academy Award is Gone, Baby, Gone

by Marcus Sakey

As everybody who reads my stuff probably knows, I admire the work of novelist Dennis Lehane. He's most famous for Mystic River; since then, he's released a novel and a collection of short stories, both dynamite, and has been writing for HBO's The Wire, arguably the most important television program of the last decade. But like many of his fans, I came to know him first through a series of PI novels featuring two Boston detectives, Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro.

Patrick and Angie are great characters, and the blue-collar Boston they wander through is beautifully evoked. More importantly, like the best of any fiction, there's the story, and then there's the point, and in the course of their investigations, Lehane's private eyes wrestle with issues ranging from political corruption to gang warfare to child abuse. It's a terrific series, gritty and intelligent.

So two or three years ago, when I read that the film rights to Gone, Baby, Gone, one of the best of the bunch, had been bought by Miramax, I was excited. And I was even more excited to learn that the company that would be producing, LivePlanet, was founded by Ben Affleck. Besides starring in the occasional movie — maybe you've seen him? — Affleck is a great writer and a diehard Boston boy, so I figured if anybody could get it right, it was him.

Well, on Wednesday, I had the opportunity to catch the Chicago premiere at the Music Box. And I'm here to tell you, he more than got it right. He knocked it out of the park. We're talking little-gold-statue knocked it out. Relentlessly intelligent, morally uncompromising, and gripping as hell. The direction is gorgeous. The screenwriting is impeccable. Casey Affleck absolutely kills as Patrick Kenzie, not an easy feat when your co-stars include Ed Harris, Michelle Monaghan, and Morgan Freeman.

All of which made me happy for a couple of reasons. But the biggest is this: last week, LivePlanet and Miramax bought the film rights to my first novel. Affleck is slated to produce, and Aaron Stockard, who co-wrote Gone, Baby, Gone, is going to be doing the adaptation.

Suffice it to say there's been a lot of happy jumping around at Casa Sakey.

Of course, there are a million steps between here and there. But whether or not things work, I couldn't be more thrilled with the deal, and the people involved. I was excited before I saw the film; now I'm straight giddy.

And I promise, my take on Gone, Baby, Gone wasn't skewed even a little bit. It really is that good. The film opens October 19th--if you like intense dramas that engage both brain and balls, I can't recommend it highly enough.

25 comments:

Shannon said...

Congratulations on getting your book optioned. That's got to be an amazing feeling.

Barbara D'Amato said...

Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow! Wow!
I could go on, but you get the idea.

The Home Office said...

First, congratulations! Getting your first book optioned by someone with a profile as high as Affleck's is wicked cool. Good luck with how it turns out, though based on what you say about GONE, BABY, GONE, it sounds like you're in good hands.

I'm completely in the tank for Lehane, and all of the Kenzie/Gennaro stories are great. My only concern is with whether Casey Affleck can carry off Patrick Kenzie. I picture Kenzie as a bigger, rougher-looking character; Casey looks like Patrick Kenzie's kid brother.

On the other hand, based on your recommendation and my amazement when Leonardo DiCaprio was able to pull off THR DEPARTED like he did, I'm willing to suspend judgment. I'll be seeing this one for sure.

Congrats again. Keep us posted.

Sean Chercover said...

What Barb said.

Congratulations, brother. Couldn't have happened to a nicer, more deserving guy.

Maryann Mercer said...

Marcus, how cool! How fantastically cool. Now I have two movies to look forward to :o)

John said...

Congrats, Marcus! I've been biting my lip with worried anticipation over "Gone Baby Gone," but you've allayed many of my fears, and now have me primed to see "The Blade Itself" on the big screen.

Martel said...

Wow, Marcus! Congratulations! I am so happy for you and can't wait to see the film on the big screen soon.

As always, you rock!!

Martel

Jude Hardin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jude Hardin said...

Congrats, Marcus!

zztopdog said...

Congrats! I couldn't put down The Blade Itself, so I really look forward to the film!

spyscribbler said...

That is AWESOME! Congratulations!

I have to see Gone, Baby, Gone, too.

I'm thrilled at the news!

Marcus Sakey said...

Thanks, everybody! It's been a week and I'm no closer to the ground. I really appreciate all the good wishes.

Home Office, I hear you, and I was nervous about that too. But honestly, Casey Affleck just owns the screen. He's in front of the camera about 85% of the movie, and completely dynamic the whole time. They did tweak the character a little bit from the books, but it works seamlessly.

Jude Hardin said...

Marcus--

I went to see Gone, Baby Gone earlier this evening, and you're right. It's absolutely first-rate.

At the same theater, though, I saw a trailer for No Country For Old Men, and it blew me away.

I'm thinking it might give GBG stout competition for The Big O.

Care for a friendly wager?

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