brian de palma novel

Brian De Palma‘s recent release Domino was not well-received, and reportedly suffered from behind-the-scenes set-backs. But fans craving more De Palma thrills are in luck: the filmmaker has a novel coming out. Co-written with Susan Lehman, the Brain De Palma novel is called Are Snakes Necessary?, and features a mystery-based plot that sounds ripped right from one of De Palma’s movies.

EW debuted the exclusive first look at Brian De Palma’s upcoming novel Are Snakes Necessary?, part of the Hard Case Crime line. Here are the details, including an explanation of that title:

A blistering political satire that doubles as a female revenge thriller. It follows a philandering senator who’s cheating on his Parkinson’s-afflicted wife with his campaign’s beautiful young videographer. When things go wrong, the senator calls in his fixer to set them right, with deadly consequences stretching from Washington to Paris.

The novel’s title references Preston Sturges’ classic The Lady Eve (in which Henry Fonda is seen reading a book called Are Snakes Necessary?), and the book will feature nods to some of De Palma’s best-known work in cinema, including encounters with a film crew in France that is engaged in remaking Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

The plotting here sounds similar to Blow Out, arguably De Palma’s best film, and as a De Palma fan, I’m immediately sold on this. But if I needed any more convincing, the book comes with a rave review from Martin Scorsese:

“When we were all trying to get our first pictures made, Brian De Palma was leading the way, forging ahead, giving a real example to follow. Brian was the model of the truly independent filmmaker, no matter what the situation or the scale of the picture or the size of the budget. When he got into a tough situation, he fought, he did the best he could, he learned and he moved on and made the next picture. Now, with Susan Lehman, he’s turned his energies to writing. In Are Snakes Necessary?, you have the same individual voice, the same dark humor and bitter satire, the same overwhelming emotional force. It’s like having a new Brian De Palma picture.”

Are Snakes Necessary? is due out March 17, 2020. You can read a sample chapter here. Check out the stylish cover art, and the full synopsis, below.

 

When the beautiful young videographer offered to join his campaign, Senator Lee Rogers should’ve known better. But saying no would have taken a stronger man than Rogers, with his ailing wife and his robust libido. Enter Barton Brock, the senator’s fixer. He’s already gotten rid of one troublesome young woman—how hard could this new one turn out to be?

Pursued from Washington D.C. to the streets of Paris, 18-year-old Fanny Cours knows her reputation and budding career are on the line. But what she doesn’t realize is that her life might be as well…

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