Quarry Pilot Casting News

June 25th, 2013 by Max Allan Collins

The producers of the HBO/Cinemax pilot QUARRY have added two more cast members to an already impressive roster:

Nikki Amuka-Bird of the top-notch British series LUTHER and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, whose many credits include the wonderful SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD.

I got a fun e-mail from reader Lee Grant relating to the QUARRY pilot, and I’d like to share it with you:

My introduction to your work came back in the 1980s with The Baby Blue Rip Off and Kill Your Darlings. I graduated to the Nathan Heller novels and rediscovered comics again with Ms. Tree. The Nate Heller and disaster novels remain my favorites, though your treatment of Mike Hammer is right up there with the Mick. Now, if you could only do some Travis McGee or Nero Wolfe novels that would be the icing on the cake. Anyway, my wife and I are at home in Bartlett, TN last night when we receive a call from a woman who is doing advance location work for a movie to be set in an old house in Mississippi. She is interested in using my wife’s old family farm house in it – one that looks like it may have been used by Machine Gun Kelly (BTW) who did spend some time in this area. I don’t think much of the conversation other than it is interesting. I ask what the film is and my wife, Jayme, says the advance scout didn’t remember the title but that it was a mystery. So, Jayme goes to visit the scout today at the house in Independence, Mississppi and when she comes out she literally stuns me saying it is for a film based on a mystery by Max Allan Collins. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She tells me, “Yeah, it is about some hit man. I think his name is Quarry.” As my teenage daughter would say, “OMG.” I don’t say that myself, I would be more like Nate Heller, but I try to avoid that can of language in emails. The sad news is that the farm house, though no one has lived in it for 25 years, may be too nice to use according to the scout. So it probably won’t be in the film, but to think that it was considered for a Max Allan Collins’ film made my day. Anyway, good luck with the film. If you ever visit the set and need someone to show you some undiscovered BBQ places, or need a driver to Graceland, feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be happy to act as a guide. It would be my way of saying thank you for all of the hours of great reading you’ve given me these past 30+ years.

Any other readers out there who have a close encounter of the QUARRY kind are urged to let me know.

A few comments on recent movies and TV, just briefly….

MAN OF STEEL is well-cast, with both Superman (Henry Cavill) and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) quite wonderful; like Glenn Ford in the first Christopher Reeve SUPERMAN, Kevin Costner gives the Smallville sections a nice homespun weight. But the last act is borderline dreadful, with oh-so-serious co-writer Christopher Nolan meeting up with the excesses of director Zack Snyder in a perfect storm of missteps – i.e., relentlessly idiotic and uninteresting TRANSFORMERS-style destruction of downtown Metropolis, topped off by Superman actually taking a life. And some of the screenwriting is truly abysmal – the movie opens with a lengthy, detailed study of Krypton’s final days, somewhat ponderous but not bad. Then when Russell Crowe as Marlon Brando, I mean Jo-El (Superman’s father), shows up as a ghost or something, he spends five minutes telling Kal-El (Superman) what happened in the first half hour of the movie! Wow. Exposition at its most clumsy, and pointless.

THIS IS THE END, on the other hand, is a truly great comedy, with star/writer Seth Rogen assembling James Franco, Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and many other comic stars of his generation to play themselves in an Apocalyptic horror flick that is largely about these talents pimping themselves out. One of the best movies of the summer, maybe the year.

Barb and I binged on two American remakes/revamps of great foreign TV mini-series – HOUSE OF CARDS with Kevin Spacey standing in for the late Ian Richardson in an excellent U.S. take on the acid British political dark comedy. Not quite as good as the original, which is one of the greatest of all UK television mini-series, but damn good in its own right. Think of it as a very dark take on THE WEST WING.

THE KILLING begins as a faithful remake of the excellent Danish series of the same name (well, the UK name, anyway – the Danish name is Forbrydelsen, “The Crime”), but expands upon it and goes its own way, and ultimately rivals and perhaps exceeds the original. The show got a bad rap and rep because it didn’t solve the central murder by the end of the first season (it never pretended it was going to), but viewing the two seasons binge-style is a hypnotic, rewarding experience. And it’s back for a third season and a new central crime. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman are the very strong leads, two damaged detectives who combine to make an unlikely and even reluctant team.

* * *

A very nice review of SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT in the Cedar Rapids Gazette has been picked up around the Net.

Here’s a review of TWO FOR THE MONEY, the Hard Case crime collection of the first two NOLAN novels, BAIT MONEY and BLOOD MONEY.

Here’s a little preview of THE WRONG QUARRY with a nice uncluttered look at the cover art.

Finally, take a look at this terrific review of TRUE CRIME. I’m so pleased Heller is getting a whole new round of readers thanks to the Amazon reprints.


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4 Responses to “Quarry Pilot Casting News”

  1. Terry Beatty says:

    I hated Man of Steel — but will note it’s been reported that Nolan was against the misguided neck-snapping climax. That stomach churning plot element should be blamed on Snyder and co-writer David S. Goyer.

  2. Terry Beatty says:

    This snarky, spoiler-filled, but damn funny piece pretty much sums up my reaction to Man of Steel.

  3. I knew that Nolan had protested the neck-snap killing, but he’s reaping his own whirlwind — he is responsible for the pseudo, so-serious DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY, which I despise, and which so many on the planet consider the Greatest Superhero Movies Ever Made (of course, Batman isn’t really a superhero). I liked MAN OF STEEL more than you did, Terry, but that doesn’t mean I liked it much. What I mostly liked were Cavill and Adams, and Costner, though his role was poorly written and thought-out. The link you provided is actually dead on, and very funny.

  4. patrick_o says:

    I’m not a huge fan of Superman to begin with, and I absolutely despised Zack Snyder’s previous cinematic efforts (especially that disastrous film adaptation of “Watchmen” – with four different cuts of the movie I still have no idea what it was trying to be!). So I wasn’t expecting much at all from “Man of Steel”. But I was pleasantly surprised. It managed to make Superman a surprisingly interesting character – I loved that scene near the beginning when a young Clark Kent’s X-ray vision kicks in and he runs out of his classroom, terrified. I liked a lot of the ideas it proposed by the movie, but I can see why people would be pissed off about the movie. I’ve heard someone suggest that it should be taken as an “Elseworlds” story to better appreciate it, but I don’t know if that makes up for the very end. (I personally liked the action scenes, but a lot of that had to do with Hans Zimmer’s excellent score, as well as my shock to discover Zack Snyder wasn’t fetishistically shooting it all in slo-mo.)

    To put it simply, I wasn’t at all a fan of Superman killing you-know-who, because… well, he didn’t have to! The people in that situation could have easily escaped while Superman was holding X down. If they wanted that scene to work on any level, they really needed to show someone who could not have left the situation — perhaps someone with a broken leg or something like that. As it stands it’s the dumbest “noble moral choice” scene I’ve ever seen.

    But this brings to light something that’s started to bother me: where have the heroes gone? Why is it that every superhero movie now has to have a conflicted hero who doesn’t know what he’s doing and must learn to live with the curse that are his powers? This might have to be blamed on Chris Nolan’s Batman movies — I personally loved them and thought they were the ideal approach for the character of Batman, but everyone else in Hollywood went cut-and-paste on that approach and have applied it to everyone: Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Spider-Man, and now Superman. What happened to the hero who knew what was right from the very first page and went on doing the right thing, having the moral courage to do so at all times? That’s why I loved “Captain America” as much as I did — he had the balls to do the right thing *before* he got his powers, and he continued to do so once he got those powers without moping in dark corners for two hours about how terrible his life is now that he has these powers. Dick Tracy also comes to find as a fine example of the heroic archetype, one who doesn’t need to whine about “what is the right thing to do and can I do it?” — he just does it. I recently bought the movie on Blu-Ray, and fell in love with its gorgeous visuals… and enjoyed seeing a good old-fashioned hero. I hope that those genuine heroes make a comeback sometime soon.