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Adapt This: “The Executor” by Jon Evans & Andrea Mutti

the executor

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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: The Executor by Jon Evans and Andrea Mutti (Vertigo Crime)

The Premise: When washed-up hockey goon Joe Ullen learns that he’s been named the executor of his high-school girlfriend’s will, he decides to return home to troubled town where he grew up. Soon he finds himself caught up in the mystery of her death and the grisly connection between her murder and a dark secret from his past.

The Pitch: As we take a break from the superhero stories for a bit, it’s worth noting that The Executor is just one of several great stories to come out of DC’s line of Vertigo Crime graphic novels. Written by award-winning novelist Jon Evans (Dark Places), The Executor is a dark, disturbing story that unfolds in the fictional Elohra, NY — a backwater town mired in economic troubles and a longstanding land dispute with the nearby Mohawk tribal reservation.

While it’s always nice to see a flashy superhero story make the leap from page to screen, The Executor offers some great source material for a tense, gritty mystery that will leave audiences talking well after the credits roll. Evans provides ample amounts of misdirection while gradually seeding the story with the clues to the truth, and the entire tale culminates in dramatic, cinema-friendly fashion once everything stands revealed.

Like any good mystery, there’s no shortage of likely suspects in the murder that lies at the heart of The Executor, and each of the characters has a lot of potential for the right actor to make the role his (or her) own. Even though the story focuses on Joe Ullen, there’s real depth in the supporting cast — something that translates to strong foundations and room for talented actors to put their own spins on the characters.

At a time when every movie seems to rely on a gimmicky angle or eye-catching special effects that often hide flaws in the script, The Executor is a simple, ready-made story that doesn’t require any storytelling tricks or fancy visual elements to hold your attention. It’s the sort of story that could just as easily provide the big break for an up-and-coming filmmaker as offer a nice opportunity for an established director to make a solid, character-driven drama.

Potential Casting: If the film is able to go the big-budget route, actors like Christian Bale or Daniel Day-Lewis would probably find a lot to like in the Joe Ullen role, as the character has more than a few skeletons in his closet and a lot of inner turmoil that he’s working through over the course of the story. It would also be nice to see someone like Tom Hardy take on a quieter role like this, too. A lesser-known actor who comes to mind as a good fit for Joe Ullen is Ryan Hurst from “Sons of Anarchy,” who seems to have a good grasp on the balance between physicality and emotion.

Keeping in line with that Batman theme, Christopher Nolan’s “Insomnia” shares some tonal similarities with The Executor, as well as films like Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River” and Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone,” which also share a similar vibe with Evans’ story — so any of those directors would likely do a great job translating the graphic novel to the screen.

The cultural implications of the story would also offer a nice chance to cast the film with prominent Native American actors across a wide range of ages, and there’s no shortage of talent to be found in that pool these days. “Apocalypto” actor Raoul Trujillo is an easy choice for Irkar, one of the locals Joe clashes with during his time in Elohra, and someone like Graham Greene (“Dances With Wolves”) or Wes Studi (“Last of the Mohicans”) could bring some real weight to the role of Jacob Tarbell, the reservation’s tribal chief.

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

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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