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Sundance Developing TV Series Based On Novel Featuring Crime Fighting Gay, Black Vietnam Vet w/ Anger Issues

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by Tambay A. Obenson
May 13, 2014 5:04 PM
4 Comments
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Cover of "Dead Aim"

SundanceTV has announced its plans to develop a series based on the award-winning novel franchise by Joe Lansdale, titled Hap And Leonard.

The project is described as a Southern set wry thriller centered on an unlikely friendship between a straight white southern man and a gay African American Vietnam veteran. Together, the two best friends wind up in trouble with various criminals as they attempt to solve local crimes. They work for a former police officer turned private investigator. 

I'm not familiar with the series of novels, and thus haven't read any of them. So I can't offer much commentary. But if you have, feel free to chime in below, and enlighten the rest of us.

Research I performed on the novel franchise states that "Leonard" in the title is Leonard Pine, a gay, black Vietnam vet burdened with major anger issues. Further...

He was raised by his uncle who shunned him after learning he was gay. However when his uncle passes away, he leaves his house and all his assets to Leonard. Leonard has zero tolerance for racist or anti-gay slurs. Although Hap dislikes guns, Leonard has no problem carrying or using them. Quick to anger, at times he cannot understand Hap's aversion to violence or killing if necessary, even when provoked. His relationships are also short and tempestuous. Leonard is the much more aggressive of the two and repeatedly burned down a local crack house that used to be his new next door neighbor.

One can only assume that his mercurial and explosive nature is as a result of his family not accepting his homosexuality, having to navigate racism and homophobia, and possibly even PTSD, or a combination of them all (and/or more that may be revealed within the novel).

Meanwhile, his partner in crime, Hap Collins, is a white working class man who did time in prison when he was younger, for refusing to be drafted into the military and serve in the Vietnam War. Often lovesick, most of his relationships haven't worked out. He's not as quick to anger as Leonard, as he often finds himself having to talk Leonard out of acting on something seriously violent.

They should make for quite the crime-solving pair.

Jim Mickle is attached to write and direct with co-writer Nick Damici

We are so pleased to be working with Jim Mickle and Nick Damici. They are incredible storytellers and uniquely poised to bring an independent film sensibility to television,” said Nena Rodrigue, SundanceTV Head of Programming.

The project is being developed by Nick Shumaker and his Paradise City production company. Shumaker will executive produce the project along with Jeremy Platt, co-executive producers Joe Landsdale and Lowell Northrup and consulting producer Linda Moran.

Who would you cast?

Again, if you've read the novels, chime in with your thoughts in the comment section below. 

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4 Comments

  • Reggie | May 14, 2014 2:05 PMReply

    I suspect they will update the stories so that Leonard is an Afghanistan War Vet

  • Bforreal | May 13, 2014 10:31 PMReply

    Sounds fascinating! Too bad I don't have the sundance channel. Dang it!

  • fred | May 13, 2014 8:44 PMReply

    this must be a period piece since vietnam vets are 60 - 70 years old today

  • Kandia Crazy Horse | May 13, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    Sounds genius to me as a fellow pre-Bicentennial American artist; looks provocative & potentially brilliant as the most vital Camera-Eye project to emerge for my post-Soul/pre-Crack Generation of progressive blackfolks & New Southerners since the hey-daze of "Love Jones," "Posse," & "Sugar Hill" and current rising of Robert Rodriguez's post-Machete network El Rey ...BUT: as an SVA film school grad I must cyberwring my hands over the issue of The Adaptation; and query the historic representational continuum: who's producing this, if not my hometown New Negro hero Richard Bruce Nugent or Baldwin or Bayard Rustin or Derek Jarman or...???

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