Friday, May 22, 2020

Books on the screen …

… The Great Elmore Leonard Renaissance of the Late '90s | CrimeReads. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

It’s something of a moot point arguing over which of the three feature length Leonard adaptations is the best, as taken together, they feel entirely of a piece. They share so many features with one another, from their soundtracks filled with smooth R&B and funky jazz, to their cross-coastal settings, to a number of key figures behind the scenes—along with being scripted by Scott Frank, Out of Sight was also produced by DeVito and Sonnenfeld—as well as in front of cameras, including Dennis Farina, Samuel L. Jackson, and, most importantly, Michael Keaton. Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe came into existence, Soderbergh bridged the world of his film to Tarantino’s by having Keaton reprise his role as the cocksure federal agent Ray Nicolette. While keen-eyed viewers at the time dismissed the connection as little more than a winking homage, it actually speaks to the true power of Leonard’s pop cultural prevalence during this period: of the twelve novels Leonard published between the years 1987 and 1999 received adaptations, all but two were adapted for film and television, three of which—the feature film Touch, the TV movie Pronto, and the Sonnenfeld-DeVito produced series Maximum Bob—came out in the interim between Jackie Brown and Out of Sight.

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