So here’s your first peek at the trailer for the Universal suspense thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones which opens September 19th (a week before The Equalizer with Denzel Washington), starring Liam Neeson, based on a novel by Lawrence Block, adapted to screenplay and directed by Scott Frank.
If you have been a regular reader then you know that Tambay and I have some concerns about the film and, in particular, the character of a black, streetwise kid called TJ, who is played by Brian “Astro” Bradley in the film.
Not having read the actual novel, a few years ago I read a draft of the screenplay which I thought was a terrific, riveting script; In particular I liked the character of TJ who I said at the time (HERE) “was no typical black sidekick role, but a solidly developed, multi-dimensional...character; a little geeky with plenty of sharp wit and intelligence, who's Scudder's equal in every way. In fact he's actually the hero in the script, saving the kidnapped Russian woman at the end, in a really suspenseful climax (and he lives to see the end too!). It would be an absolutely terrific part for a young, upcoming black actor.”
The caveat was that, I read a draft of the script, not the final shooting script, which means anything could have happened from the time I read the script to actual production, with all of the usual rewrites and revisions that aren't so uncommon in Hollywood projects, and that the TJ role could wind up being be “greatly diminished, horribly stereotyped and buffoonish.”
Tambay, however read the actual novel, and the script, and was very concerned (HERE) saying that the TJ in the book was “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, obnoxious, mouthy, and of course he's street smart, and is depicted as you'd expect a young black kid from the hood to be portrayed. But he's essentially our hero's, Matt Scudder's/Liam Neeson's, sidekick, and connection to those areas of the city that Scudder himself would have a challenging time infiltrating."
So which TJ shall we see in the film? He’s barely seen in the trailer, which would give anyone the idea that he’s an insignificant character in the story, when, at least, in the draft that I read, a very integral part of the story.
So will it be good news or bad? We’ll just have to wait and see. But the trailer does make the film at least look good. Judge for yourself: