Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Craig Johnson: Hollywood Calling

Thank you to Craig Johnson and all of those who came out on Saturday! We had a great time!

And to keep you updated, we've just received word from Craig about Walt Longmire and his future in Hollywood:

“If they make a television series or movie about Walt Longmire, who’s going to play him?” I get asked that question a lot about the Absaroka County Sheriff from my series of books—I usually pawn the question off by saying Gary Cooper.

I’m not going to be able to do that for much longer.

I was at the Autry Western Heritage Center in Los Angeles promoting JUNKYARD DOGS as part of their book club just last week. They moved me to a larger venue, a portico downstairs with a massive mural that intertwined factual and fictitious characters of the American West; Jim Bridger standing next to Gene and Roy—you get the picture. The artists were illustrators from Disney who’d been sent over to, well, illustrate and, as one of the organizers and my buddy, Scott Frank, explained, “They put themselves in the mural.” There was a pretty, blonde pioneer woman prominently displayed, along with a mountain man whose features appeared to be a bit more defined than the others… Hmm.

Everybody wants to get in on the act.

A lot of times I have readers who meet me, ask the question above, and then posit the thought that I should play Walt. It’s at this point that I start wondering about the mental health of my readership and explain that no, if such an opportunity should arise, we’d like for it to be a success. Generally, I feel like a disappointment when people meet me in person in that I’m not movie-star handsome, six foot-five, or do I carry the easy affability of my protagonist. I may be the only six foot, two hundred and ten pound author with a physical inferiority complex.
You probably know where I’m going with this by now.

I’m happy to say that the question is in the hands of the professionals, and they are truly a charming bunch--smart, talented, insightful and funny; just the group of individuals I’d hoped for in the development of a cinematic version of Walt, Henry, Vic, and crew. I’ve been mincing words out on the tour, but I’m really excited that we’ve been given the go-ahead in reporting the following.

A television series based on Craig Johnson’s Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire from the Viking/Penguin novels is in development with Warner Horizon Television and TNT. Golden Globe and Emmy Award-winning Greer Shephard and Michael M. Robin (The Shephard/Robin Company) are executive producing alongside Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny, who are adapting the novel for the screen. Greg Yaitanes is attached to direct. Shephard and Robin are currently executive producers on The Closer (TNT). Among other projects, they executive produced Nip/Tuck (FX) and Trust Me (TNT), the latter created and produced by Baldwin and Coveny. Yaitanes is an executive producer and Emmy Award-winning director on House (Fox). Johnson is currently on tour with Junkyard Dogs, the sixth novel in the award-winning series. When asked who he thought should play the tough but tender sheriff, Johnson, who has been retained as a creative consultant, replied, “Gary Cooper, but he’s not returning our calls.”

I know what you’re thinking, but I think we can get Gary to put on about forty pounds in donuts—and besides, they’re doing amazing things with CGI these days.

See ya on the trail,


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