Following the conclusion of HAP AND LEONARD season 1, the reviews and other interesting things continue to come in.
James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams as the titular characters in SundanceTV’s HAP AND LEONARD
IHORROR explains the 5 Reasons Horror Fans Should Watch Hap and Leonard (Before It’s Too Late).
1. Joe Lansdale
If you’re not familiar with author Joe Lansdale, you should fix that immediately. He’s one of the most purely entertaining novelists I’ve ever read, and I’ve ready many of his works. They’re not all horror, but some are very much so. If you don’t know him as an author, you may still be familiar with some of his stories. He wrote Bubba Ho-Tep, which Phantasm director Don Coscarelli turned into an amazing movie starring Bruce Campbell as Elvis fighting a mummy.
Photo: Karen Lansdale
Hap and Leonard are the main characters in a series of books and stories that Lansdale has sprinkled throughout his career. These are of course the source of the new television show. Hap and Leonard stories aren’t outright horror. Like much of Lansdale’s work, they blend genres, but make no mistake. Plenty of horrific shit happens, and the stories (and show) have heart. Given the brutality of much of Lansdale’s work and the people who make the show happen, I would expect plenty of horror in the mix if the show continues. There has already been a heaping helping of the red stuff.
L. Falcetti of HIDDEN REMOTE loves the series.
The casting of HAP AND LEONARD is another bit of inspired brilliance from the show’s creators. James Purefoy delivers a stellar American accent, possibly not of the Hugh Laurie caliber (but really, who can?) but definitely far superior to the aforementioned Walking Dead’s Andrew Lincoln or David Morrissey. He manages to play Hap Collins as just thick enough to make you root for him (no one likes a know it all) and just trusting enough to make your heartbreak. Michael Kenneth Williams as Leonard, a gay Vietnam vet and Hap’s best friend since childhood is intense and alluring, giving off enough “leave me alone” tough guy vibes but at the same time (much as his companion) displaying the right amount of emotion at the perfect times to give you the vision of a fully formed human being, rather than a generic southern badass.
Christina Hendricks honestly almost steals the entire show from her costars. As Trudy, she is at the center of a subtle (and then not so subtle) game of tug of war between two men, yet the producers give us insights to her character through the (happily) not overused flashbacks resulting in, again, a fully fleshed out character.
What really gives the show it’s unique feel and lasting power however is the villain team of Jimmi Simpson and Pollyanna McIntosh. Simpson, who you might be familiar with from his appearances on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as half of the McPoyle brothers, plays the part of deranged maniac with an exuberance and style that makes him seem like the demented lovechild of James Spader and Jack Nicholson. McIntosh is his amazonian girlfriend/muscle and the pair’s love is genuinely on a Mickey and Mallory level of pop culture twisted brilliance and genuine heartfelt human emotion.
HAP AND LEONARD is better and more enjoyable than True Detective and I’ll say that while standing on Nic Pizzolatto’s coffee table, kicking Thomas Ligotti books to the floor. It’s more coherent, it’s more sympathetic, it’s more comfortable with itself and maybe most importantly, it’s actually fun to watch. Where True Detective has to confront masculinity and family, trust and time with all the subtlety of a plane crash,Hap and Leonard manages to do so with a sly, clever nod that asks for a little more from its audience and delivers a whole lot more in return.
At SHOCK UNTIL YOU DROP, Debbie Rochon interviews director Jim Mickle about adapting Joe R. Lansdale.
SHOCK: What has the experience been like adapting Lansdale’s work, has he been protective at all about his stories or how you may use or not use his ideas?
MICKLE: Joe is incredibly supportive and respectful of the process, but he also knows what he likes and speaks up when he doesn’t. The whole process of adapting something you love can be really challenging because there’s a reason why you’re doing it— you loved it and it worked beautifully for you on the page. So you’re trying to translate something without fucking it up, yet every medium has its limitations so inevitably you have to reconfigure some things and not force the right elements into the wrong shape. Luckily we’re pretty faithful with this season of HAP AND LEONARD more so than other books to series, so I think we’re all happy with it. He wants his dialogue to be right, but we all do. That’s one of the best parts of any Lansdale story. Hopefully when it’s not verbatim, it still feels like him.”
SUNDANCETV delivers an in-depth virtual tour of Leonard’s home.