DID YOU READ

ADAPT THIS: “Poseurs” by Deborah Vankin & Rick Mays

poseurs

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With Hollywood turning more of its attention to the world of graphic novels for inspiration, I’ll cast the spotlight on a new comic book each week that has the potential to pack a theater or keep you glued to your television screens. At the end of some “Adapt This” columns, you’ll also find thoughts from the industry’s top comic creators about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: Poseurs by Deborah Vankin (w) and Rick Mays (a)

The Premise: The lives of three high-school kids intersect in the Hollywood nightlife as cash-strapped Jenna lands a job as a professional party guest and becomes friends with Pouri, a wealthy “parachute kid” living it up far away from her parents, and Mac, a busboy obsessed with popular slang. What starts out as a life of clubs and lavish mansions eventually takes a dark turn, though, as the trio gets caught up in a kidnapping plot that takes them from L.A. night clubs to dangerous, underground hangouts of West Coast gangs.

The Pitch: The original pitch for this graphic novel from Los Angeles Times writer Deborah Vankin frames it as “‘Gossip Girl’ meets Bret Easton Ellis for the comic book crowd,” which is actually a pretty accurate comparison — though it offers a decidedly more PG-rated, young-adult take on youth culture than Ellis’ novels. And while “Gossip Girl” restricted itself to the teenage wealthy elite, Poseurs offers a more varied mix of backgrounds and social strata in L.A. culture, and takes readers inside (and behind) the glamour from each character’s perspective.

What sets Poseurs apart from the two elements in that pitch and makes it an even more attractive subject for adaptation, however, is the genuine sense of heart in the story that makes the characters feel more like real people instead of amalgams of night-life archetypes. With a film or television series based on Poseurs — and it could be a good fit in either format, really — there’s a real chance for character development and drama that spans social and economic classes, and a cool “party noir” tale that unfolds in a much broader environment than the typical young-adult story.

As I mentioned earlier, there’s no shortage of roles in a “Poseurs” film or TV series that could be culled from young Hollywood — and the ethnic diversity of the story’s cast would certainly give the series a more authentic, melting-pot vibe than most projects aimed at teenage audiences these days.

There are also ample opportunities for adult actors in the project, too — and it’s easy to picture any number of prominent character actresses playing Jenna’s serial-dating mother or her boss at the company that pays her to attend parties, Raz. While the adult characters occupy supporting roles in the book, the story leaves a lot of room for capable actors to put their stamp on each character and make them their own.

In many ways, Poseurs fits the profile of every good young-adult film or TV series, with its cast of high-school characters that appeal to a wide range of demographics and a story that has them dealing with very real (and dangerous) adult issues that transcend the normal high-school drama. (But don’t worry — there’s still quite a bit of high-school drama slipped in there for good measure, too.)

Finally, like any good project aimed at young audiences, the teenage characters are often smarter than the adults when it comes to solving their problems, but it usually takes some help from their closest friends.

The Closing Argument: Any network looking for something that ratchets down the glitz of “Gossip Girls” but offers a rougher edge and tighter narrative than the typical fare on The CW would do well to check out Poseurs. Vankin’s narrative manages to find the balance between teen drama and compelling, adult themes in a clever story that crosses age and cultural demographics.

And while the “party noir” tale that introduces the cast leaves room to continue the narrative beyond the first book, there’s also a nice finale to Vankin’s story that would allow it to do fine as a standalone film.


Do you think “Poseurs” would make a good movie or television series? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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Bro and Tell

BFFs And Night Court For Sports

Bromance and Comeuppance On Two New Comedy Crib Series

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“Silicon Valley meets Girls meets black male educators with lots of unrealized potential.”

That’s how Carl Foreman Jr. and Anthony Gaskins categorize their new series Frank and Lamar which joins Joe Schiappa’s Sport Court in the latest wave of new series available now on IFC’s Comedy Crib. To better acquaint you with the newbies, we went right to the creators for their candid POVs. And they did not disappoint. Here are snippets of their interviews:

Frank and Lamar

via GIPHY

IFC: How would you describe Frank and Lamar to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Carl: Best bros from college live and work together teaching at a fancy Manhattan private school, valiantly trying to transition into a more mature phase of personal and professional life while clinging to their boyish ways.

IFC: And to a friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Carl: The same way, slightly less coherent.

Anthony: I’d probably speak about it with much louder volume, due to the bar which would probably be playing the new Kendrick Lamar album. I might also include additional jokes about Carl, or unrelated political tangents.

Carl: He really delights in randomly slandering me for no reason. I get him back though. Our rapport on the page, screen, and in real life, comes out of a lot of that back and forth.

IFC: In what way is Frank and Lamar a poignant series for this moment in time?
Carl: It tells a story I feel most people aren’t familiar with, having young black males teach in a very affluent white world, while never making it expressly about that either. Then in tackling their personal lives, we see these three-dimensional guys navigate a pivotal moment in time from a perspective I feel mainstream audiences tend not to see portrayed.

Anthony: I feel like Frank and Lamar continues to push the envelope within the genre by presenting interesting and non stereotypical content about people of color. The fact that this show brought together so many talented creative people, from the cast and crew to the producers, who believe in the project, makes the work that much more intentional and truthful. I also think it’s pretty incredible that we got to employ many of our friends!

Sport Court

Sport Court gavel

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?
Joe: SPORT COURT follows Judge David Linda, a circuit court judge assigned to handle an ad hoc courtroom put together to prosecute rowdy fan behavior in the basement of the Hartford Ultradome. Think an updated Night Court.

IFC: How would you describe Sport Court to drunk friend of a friend you met in a bar?
Joe: Remember when you put those firecrackers down that guy’s pants at the baseball game? It’s about a judge who works in a court in the stadium that puts you in jail right then and there. I know, you actually did spend the night in jail, but imagine you went to court right that second and didn’t have to get your brother to take off work from GameStop to take you to your hearing.

IFC: Is there a method to your madness when coming up with sports fan faux pas?
Joe: I just think of the worst things that would ruin a sporting event for everyone. Peeing in the slushy machine in open view of a crowd seemed like a good one.

IFC: Honestly now, how many of the fan transgressions are things you’ve done or thought about doing?
Joe: I’ve thought about ripping out a whole row of chairs at a theater or stadium, so I would have my own private space. I like to think of that really whenever I have to sit crammed next to lots of people. Imagine the leg room!

Check out the full seasons of Frank and Lamar and Sport Court now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Millennial Wisdom

Charles Speaks For Us All

Get to know Charles, the social media whiz of Brockmire.

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He may be an unlikely radio producer Brockmire, but Charles is #1 when it comes to delivering quips that tie a nice little bow on the absurdity of any given situation.

Charles also perfectly captures the jaded outlook of Millennials. Or at least Millennials as mythologized by marketers and news idiots. You know who you are.

Played superbly by Tyrel Jackson Williams, Charles’s quippy nuggets target just about any subject matter, from entry-level jobs in social media (“I plan on getting some experience here, then moving to New York to finally start my life.”) to the ramifications of fictional celebrity hookups (“Drake and Taylor Swift are dating! Albums y’all!”). But where he really nails the whole Millennial POV thing is when he comments on America’s second favorite past-time after type II diabetes: baseball.

Here are a few pearls.

On Baseball’s Lasting Cultural Relevance

“Baseball’s one of those old-timey things you don’t need anymore. Like cursive. Or email.”

On The Dramatic Value Of Double-Headers

“The only thing dumber than playing two boring-ass baseball games in one day is putting a two-hour delay between the boring-ass games.”

On Sartorial Tradition

“Is dressing badly just a thing for baseball, because that would explain his jacket.”

On Baseball, In A Nutshell

“Baseball is a f-cked up sport, and I want you to know it.”


Learn more about Charles in the behind-the-scenes video below.

And if you were born before the late ’80s and want to know what the kids think about Baseball, watch Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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Crown Jules

Amanda Peet FTW on Brockmire

Amanda Peet brings it on Brockmire Wednesday at 10P on IFC.

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On Brockmire, Jules is the unexpected yin to Jim Brockmire’s yang. Which is saying a lot, because Brockmire’s yang is way out there. Played by Amanda Peet, Jules is hard-drinking, truth-spewing, baseball-loving…everything Brockmire is, and perhaps what he never expected to encounter in another human.

“We’re the same level of functional alcoholic.”


But Jules takes that commonality and transforms it into something special: a new beginning. A new beginning for failing minor league baseball team “The Frackers”, who suddenly about-face into a winning streak; and a new beginning for Brockmire, whose life gets a jumpstart when Jules lures him back to baseball. As for herself, her unexpected connection with Brockmire gives her own life a surprising and much needed goose.

“You’re a Goddamn Disaster and you’re starting To look good to me.”

This palpable dynamic adds depth and complexity to the narrative and pushes the series far beyond expected comedy. See for yourself in this behind-the-scenes video (and brace yourself for a unforgettable description of Brockmire’s genitals)…

Want more about Amanda Peet? She’s all over the place, and has even penned a recent self-reflective piece in the New York Times.

And of course you can watch the Jim-Jules relationship hysterically unfold in new episodes of Brockmire, every Wednesday at 10PM on IFC.

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