Johnny’s favorite author is Joe R. Lansdale and to say he’s excited about the forthcoming movie version of Cold in July would be an understatement.
As an audience member I tend to be a tough customer, yet plenty of Joe Lansdale’s stories have chilled me down to the atom. The most apparent point of comparison is to Stephen King, but with respect, Joe Lansdale is far, far funnier. He’s socially progressive in the most common-sense of ways. He can make believable situations recognizable and outlandish situations believable. Unlike many, he can write scenes of sex in a true, direct way that doesn’t embarrass everyone involved. His books are just the right length. He doesn’t waste your damn time. You come away from a Lansdale story fully satisfied, yet craving the next one. The only possible reason I can imagine for Joe Lansdale being as well-known and as widely-read as his gang of true-believers (myself obviously included) know he could be is that his work is so multi-faceted and difficult to define in an Oprah’s-Book-Club-ready two-word summation.
So COLD IN JULY is currently in production. This is one of the first Lansdale novels I personally was hipped to – he’s been writing since the 1980s but this is an effort from 1995. This comes from the era where Lansdale was writing a lot of novels featuring his recurring leads, Hap Collins and Leonard Pine, two East Texas shit-kickers and a bickering white-n’-straight/black-n’-gay odd couple with a knack for attracting odd jobs, trouble and violence. COLD IN JULY the book is a stand-alone novel about a man who shoots a home invader dead in self-defense and is stalked by the intruder’s father, only for both men to discover there are far darker matters afoot. This isn’t one of the Hap & Leonard thrillers, but it does feature an appearance by a recurring character from those books, Jim Bob Luke, a frequent ally of Hap & Leonard and an amiable but deadly next-level shitkicker. In my mind, I always pictured Jim Bob looking like Jimmie Dale Gilmore, or Joe Bob Briggs, and not only because of the similarities in naming. (Both are quintessential Texans.) But who they chose is arguably even better.
Jim Mickle is directing the movie version of COLD IN JULY. If you’ve seen his horror efforts, including 2006’s MULBERRY STREET, an only-in-New-York killer-rat movie, and 2010’s STAKE LAND, a very underrated low-fi vampire epic, then you’d be interested to see any new Jim Mickle movie, let alone one with such incredible source material. Mickle co-wrote the adaptation with frequent collaborator and sometime leading man Nick Damici (he was great as “Mister” in STAKE LAND). Michael C. Hall, star of Six Feet Under and Dexter, is taking on the lead role in COLD IN JULY. Sam Shepard has signed on for a role that I can only assume is the burglar’s vengeful father. And in the role of my man Jim Bob?
To find out who is playing Jim Bob and what Johnny thought of him, check out the rest of the piece at Daily Grindhouse.
This July in commemoration of the movie’s release, Tachyon delivers the official movie tie-in edition of the original novel, complete with an introduction by director Jim Mickle and an afterword by Joe R. Lansdale, his ownself.
For more info on the book Cold In July, visit the Tachyon page.