“I Could Already Hear The Sirens.”

| May 6, 2017 | Reply

“When I got to Leonard’s Christmas Eve night, he had the Kentucky Headhunters turned way up over at his place, and they were singing ‘The Ballad of Davy Crockett,’ and Leonard, in kind of a Christmas celebration, was once again setting fire to the house next door.
I wished he’d quit doing that. I’d helped him the first time, he’d done it the second time on his own, and now here I was this third time, driving up. It was going to look damn suspicious when the cops got here. Someone had already called in…..I knew that because I could hear the sirens.”

The Two-Bear Mambo, by Joe R. Lansdale

If you’re a fan of suspense, horror and western novels, it’s possible that you already knew of Joe R. Lansdale. Over the years, the Texas native has penned hundreds of short stories and dozens of novels, a few of which have been translated into feature films (Cold In July, Bubba Ho-Tep and Bar Talk). Lansdale’s latest screen project, Hap & Leonard, is based on the acclaimed dark noir suspense series following the 1980s-era crime-fighting misadventures of Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. Developed with the Sundance Channel, Hap & Leonard, starring James Purefoy and Michael Kenneth Willams, is currently the network’s highest-rated original series and was just renewed for a third season.

With such exciting news on deck and another Hap & Leonard novel due in 2018, Jack Rabbit Smile, the award-winning 65-year-old author was happy to recently share by phone his ideas about the appeal of Hap & Leonard, what fans like and dislike and which one of the characters resembles him most in real life:


As a fan of the novels, I was excited to see the Sundance adaptation and glad about how closely the first two seasons have followed [the novels] Savage Season and Mucho Mojo. How do other fans view the series?

“The newer fans who just discovered Hap & Leonard tell me that the series made them want to go get the novels, and a large percentage of them have become hooked. Some fans who have already read the books have complained about the martial arts scenes and they also want more of my novels'[verbatim] dialogues to be in there, but most of what I’ve received has been praise. James and Michael are good people and are actually best friends in real life, so they’ve been able to bring that camaraderie into the series.
The characters are complex and both actors told me at one point that they enjoy playing Hap and Leonard, but they are difficult characters; they’re very intelligent, but the [success] boat had sailed in life and for awhile, they both missed it. In later books they catch up. James and Michael are doing a marvelous job, the series’ actors all play well off of each other and I’ve been very fortunate these last two seasons, so I hope the trend continues.”

Are Pine and Collins based on anyone that you know or grew up with?

“Leonard is a conglomeration of several different people. Hap is not absolutely me, but his attitude, his approach to things, his way of thinking and his unfortunate mouth definitely comes from me.”

What do you think the greatest appeal of H&L has been for the fans?

“What I enjoy is that I when wrote the series, the characters are all different people with different sexual orientations and different political views just like a lot of the people I knew. There’s nothing wrong with being white; I’m white, but on the other hand, the world we all live in is variable, so I don’t want all the characters I write about to be the same.”

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Category: Authors and Books, DMN Briefing Columns

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Motherofcolor.com showcases the writings of an intelligent and socially savvy wife, mother and journalist who explores a variety of topics (culture, politics, race and gender issues, etc.) with a unique African-American/womanist perspective.* *COPYWRITTEN CONTENT, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (c) . "Melody Charles," "Chocolate Mama & "Le[e] L[e]e Symone" are writing alter egos/pen names*

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