Posted on Monday, September 13th, 2010 by Russ Fischer
The books of Elmore Leonard have been source material for a wide variety of films good and bad, from Out of Sight, Rum Punch (aka Jackie Brown) and Get Shorty, to losers like Be Cool, Killshot and The Big Bounce.
Now one more is being added to the pile, as Walter Matthau’s son Charles Matthau is preparing to direct an adaptation of Freaky Deaky, with William H. Macy starring.
Variety broke the initial project news, and Deadline told of Macy’s casting. I can’t even begin to call how this one might land. I haven’t seen Charles Matthau’s other directorial effort Her Minor Thing, so I’ve got no basis to even guess here. (He’s also writing the script.) And with the Leonard adaptation track record, which is pretty much as 50/50 as the mentions above would indicate, I’m not going to hazard a guess.
Freaky Deaky is one of the Leonard novels I haven’t read, so I’ll have to go based on the description to guess that Macy would play the alcoholic Woody Ricks, as I can’t see him as a new sex crimes squad sergeant in the Detroit PD.
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Leonard starts and ends his latest page turner with a bang, and between explosions we meet a vivid group of characters who are mainly veterans of the youth rebellion of the 1960s. Chief among them are Chris Mankowski, 38-year-old Detroit police sergeant, newly transferred from the bomb squad to sex crimes; Woody Ricks, alcoholic auto scion; Donnell Lewis, ex-Black Panther who is acting as Woody’s driver, nursemaid and would-be swindler; Robin Abbott, ex-con, exfugitive (she bombed a federal office building) who has plans for a million dollar movie based on Woody’s life, with help from her old boyfriend and erstwhile bombing partner Skip Gibbs, now a movie dynamite expert. The only character who does not have ties to the ’60s is Greta (“Who’s Huey Newton?”) Wyatt, stagenamed Ginger Jones, who meets Chris when she reports that Woody has assaulted her. When Chris pursues the investigation, he is suspended from the force, ostensibly for nonresidence in Detroit but really because of Woody’s clout. Now determined to get to the bottom of things, Chris is caught up in a web of scams plotted by Robin, Skip and Donnell.