Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The American Black Film Festival Announces Its 2015 Films in Competition The American Black Film Festival Announces Its 2015 Films in Competition Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' British Filmmaker Peter Greenaway Preps Feature on Alexandre Dumas British Filmmaker Peter Greenaway Preps Feature on Alexandre Dumas Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

"A Walk Among The Tombstones" Gets Some Life Again; Will TJ Come Along For The Ride?

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 17, 2012 at 1:18PM

Liam Neeson isn't at all the face I pictured when I read this novel awhile ago. For starters, I imagined someone younger actually - maybe early to mid-40s. Neeson will be 60 next month.
1
tombstones

Liam Neeson isn't at all the face I pictured when I read this novel awhile ago. For starters, I imagined someone younger actually - maybe early to mid-40s. Neeson will be 60 next month.

But what I really wanted to draw your attention to is the fact that there's a supporting character in this - an African American teen - who actually plays a substantial, if pivotal role in the book (I'm not so sure whether the screenplay adaptation will be an exact copy of the book, but I'm assuming the character, named TJ, will remain).

To be clear, in the novel, TJ is as stereotypical a character as you can get in this kind of hard-boiled crime novel. He's a young black man from the streets, so of course he's street smart, and is depicted as you'd expect given that short description I just gave. He's essentially our hero, Matt Scudder's, sidekick, and connection to those areas Scudder himself would have a challenging time infiltrating. TJ is also well-connected.

BUT, if you're willing to look past those *faults* of the narrative, you'll appreciate TJ's craftiness, smarts, passion, dedication, and edge, and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He's the man with the answers and the plan, and turns out to be very necessary in Scudder's investigation.

Again, I'm going solely on the novel here, which I read years ago; I'm actually a fan of the entire Matt Scudder series of novels, written by Lawrence Block. I've read 4 or 5 of them; they're relatively fast, entertaining reads. Block pulls no punches with the material, and makes no apologies. It's straightforward, unpretentious, hard-boiled, violent, bleak, gritty, New York-set crime fiction, so you'll find a mix of characters of all skin colors and ethnicities, without any concern for PC depictions. 

So you're either with it or you're not.

I haven't read the script that's been adapted from the novel, so I can't say what's been done with it. The project has been "in development" for a while now, and it looks like it's finally heading into production.

It's been announced today that production on A Walk Among The Tombstones will begin in February, 2013 in New York, with Liam Neeson as Matt Scudder.

Block’s Scudder character was previously played by Jeff Bridges in the 1986 Hal Ashby-directed 8 Million Ways To Die, from a script penned by Oliver Stone

As for who'll play TJ (assuming he's been kept in the script as a streetsmart black teenager), no word on who they're looking at yet. Given that they've aged Scudder a bit (note that when Jeff Bridges played the character in 1986, Bridges was 36 - a big difference compared to Neeson's 60, and closer to the age I imagined when I read the novel), I won't be surprised if they also age the TJ character from a teen to a 20-something, or who knows, even 30-something black man, and cast a black actor with a familiar face.


Shadow & ActNewsletter