DID YOU READ

Adapt This: “Awakening” is the zombie-noir you didn’t know you wanted

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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 cool 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 various comic creators and other industry experts about the books they’d like to see make the jump from page to screen.


This Week’s Book: Awakening by Alex Eckman-Lawn and Nick Tapalansky

The Premise: Private detective Derrick Peters finds himself in the middle of a case that defies logic when a rash of strange murders rips through the otherwise quiet town of Park Falls. When the craziest woman in town cries “zombies,” it seems like the ramblings of a disturbed individual — but could she be closer to the truth than anyone cares to believe?

The Pitch: A blend of “Night of the Living Dead” and classic Richard Stark crime novels, Awakening is a zombie story told from the perspective of a private detective investigating a missing-person case, and it’s a moody, tense exploration of the genre that blends the best parts of a noir mystery with a gruesome horror story. Given how accustomed movie audiences have become to the nonstop gore-fests of modern zombie films, an adaptation of Awakening is likely to stand out from the crowd and benefit from offering such a fresh take on the genre.

To their credit, Eckman-Lawn and Tapalansky accomplish quite a lot within the limited confines of their mid-size city setting, and the narrower focus they take on the notion of a zombie outbreak makes the entire tale feel more personal — which only adds to the terror as the threat grows. This focused, more personal approach to the genre is similar to the way the recent film “Chronicle” approached the superhero genre, and a filmmaker looking to adapt Awakening would do well to take a few hints from that movie.

Still, beyond the normal makeup effects necessary for a zombie film, an adaptation of Awakening would require little in the way of digital eye candy to bring the graphic novel to the screen. What is necessary, though, is a director with a good grasp on the way light and shadows can shape the tone of a film. Awakening is very much a zombie story filtered through the lens of classic noir cinema, so the ability to handle the latter is more important than a knack for blood and guts.

Casting Suggestions: Both the main character of the story and the supporting cast leave quite a bit of room for talented actors to bring their own visual characteristics and details to the roles, which should make any studio happy. While the role of Derrick Peters should be filled by someone capable of handling the conventions of noir cinema, the character of Daniel Howe — a scientist sent to Park Falls by the government — requires a nice balance of slick attitude and confidence without letting the character become unlikeable. Cynthia Ford, the woman regarded as the “town crazy” by most of Park Falls’ inhabitants, could also make for a fun role that a talented actress could expand upon and turn into something far more memorable than what appears in the graphic novel.

Given his experience with noir-fueled projects, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an easy pick for Peters, but it would be nice to see that role — as well as the rest of the cast of characters — go to some up-and-coming actors looking to try something new. Awakening is such a unique story that it would benefit from an audience’s lack of expectations and a cast with room to build on their roles.


Would “Awakening” make a good movie? Chime in below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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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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Draught Pick

Sam Adams “Keeps It Brockmire”

All New Brockmire airs Wednesdays at 10P on IFC.

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From baseball to beer, Jim Brockmire calls ’em like he sees ’em.

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It’s no wonder at all, then, that Sam Adams would reach out to Brockmire to be their shockingly-honest (and inevitably short-term) new spokesperson. Unscripted and unrestrained, he’ll talk straight about Sam—and we’ll take his word. Check out this new testimonial for proof:

See more Brockmire Wednesdays at 10P on IFC, presented by Samuel Adams. Good f***** beer.

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