… Joe Lansdale on film adaption of novels, trends and comics

Joe Lansdale … Joe Lansdale …
… on film adaption of novels, trends and comics

zur deutschen Übersetzung Joe Lansdale is mainly popular in Germany for his novels about Hap & Leonard. The novels are published under the crime-label, but the action-sequences and the humor in the novels overshadow the detective-attributes and make the books a unique mixture.

Joe is in the US also well known for his Horror-novels and short-stories for which he was honoured with the Bram-Stoker-Award and other high-noted prizes.


He did also work in the the Comic-Field with such titles as JONAH HEX (with Tim Truman), BLOOD & SHADOWS (with Mark A. Nelson) and CONAN (again with Tim Truman). Big success could Joe acclaim with his novels for adolscents like THE BOTTOMS or the wonderful 20th-pastiche SUNSET & SAWDUST.

The last published novels in Germany were SUNSET & SAWDUST and LEATHER MAIDEN by Golkonda.

Thank you, Joe for accepting to answer some questions for us.

Zauberspiegel: Mainly you are known in Germany for your Hap&Leonard-Novels. Could you sell the Movie-rights for these novels and can we expect a Hap&Leonard-Movie in the near future?
Joe Lansdale: I do own those rights, and have optioned them a number of times, and though they have made me money, they have not made movies. I keep hoping.

Zauberspiegel: Which actors would you choose for the Main-charakters?
Joe Lansdale:  Since the series has been going on awhile, I’ve had different actors in mind. Some twenty years or so ago, I saw Jeff Bridges and Sam Jackson, and numerous other actors in the role.
Once it was actually planned with Josh Lucas and Don Cheadle, and then it fell through. It’s come close a number of times. I’m still hoping.

Zauberspiegel: Are you pleased with the ‚Bubba Ho-Tep-Flick‘ and did you like Bruce Campbells performance (or has you wished another actor als Elvis – Kurt Russell would also be great – he has proven it in other films) and how much influence had you gotten on the production?
Joe Lansdale: I love that film. Bruce was great, and I think it is his best film role to date. I was on the set, and Don was kind enough to try and stay close to the story, but I didn’t really have anything to do with the production.

Zauberspiegel: How much of your personality had flown in the literature-figure of Hap (I could interpret it terribly wrong, but Haps code of honor and thoughts could originate directly from you?)
Joe Lansdale: A lot of me is in Hap, and Leonard. I try and use those characters to show both of my sides, though sometimes neither of them are reflecting my views. But Hap is certainly very close to me.
Only thing is, I’m getting older, and I stopped aging him about the time of CAPTAIN’S OUTRAGEOUS. But, I think I’m smarter than Hap about the way I handle my life.

Zauberspiegel: Your last Horror-Novel was ‚Lost Echoes‘. In my opinion one of your finest works in the Horror-field. The book was published in the US 2007 (and never was published in Germany). Did your horror-titles generally not sell so good as your crime-novels or your books for adolescents?
Joe Lansdale: They all seem to sell about the same, but LOST ECHOES is kind of my lost book. It just sort of fell between the cracks. I wish more people knew about it, and in time, maybe they will.

Zauberspiegel: Are Horror-Novels today generally out (even in the US? In Germany Horror-books are very rare in the present – only the romantic softy titles like ‚Twilight‘ flood the market)?
Joe Lansdale: Horror seems to be back in here in the states. Not the way it was in the eighties, but there are lots of outlets for it. Short story markets for me have increased, not decreased. I love short stories, and though I love to write novels, I prefer the shorter length, especially for anything horror. But there does seem to be a rise in the market, but not a boom.

Zauberspiegel: Has you ever written a book in regard of a trend (I think many of these romantic-vampire-crap-novels were written because of the trend for it)
Joe Lansdale: Not consciously, except when I first started out. But when I first started out, that never worked. Partly because I was  trying to catch a trend, and I was also at the same time learning my craft. But when I wrote what I wanted, I did all right. But I think a trend can create excitement. I started writing horror in the eighties because it excited me. It was a trend, but it was a trend made for me. I had grown up reading horror short stories, and the now and again novel I could find, watching horror films, so I loved the stuff. When the trend was there and excited me, I moved away from crime and mystery and started writing that. Then I moved back to Western a little, then back to crime more seriously, and then back and forth.

Zauberspiegel: You have written horror, crime, western-horror, adolescent-novels, Western Comics (Lone Ranger, Jonah Hex) mixed with horror, Conan-Comics and a Tarzan-Novel. Is there any genre you would like to explore in the future (I would love to see a heroic-fantasy-novel in style of Game-of-Thrones from you or is this too far away from your interests)?
Joe Lansdale: When I was younger I really liked heroic fantasy, but it doesn’t float my boat much these days. I might write a heroic fantasy short story, or novella, but I doubt there will be a novel. But, hey, I never say never. Sometimes I catch fire on something I don’t expect. I did write a few sword and sorcery stories early in my career, but I don’t think they were very good. I would like to write one good sword and sorcery short story, and may well do that.

Zauberspiegel: You have also written a Batman-Novel. How did the deal with DC/Warner develop (did they contact you because of your Jonah-Hex-Comic-work or did they choose you for your writing style)?
Joe Lansdale: I think my style of writing attracted the editor at DC, and the fact that Tim Truman wanted to work with me. Tim is a great artist, and I loved what he did with Hex. Of course, they own the character, not me. I loved my run on Jonah Hex. It was great fun. I also wrote two animated films about him. One was a Batman episode, and another was an eleven minute short on DC SHOWCASE, which was a series of short animated films about their characters.

Zauberspiegel: Do you read any comics today?
Joe Lansdale: Yes. I don’t read any one series, but I tend to keep an ear to the ground, and if something is getting some heat, or friends of mine who have taste similar to mine suggest something, I try to pick it up. I read a lot of the Archives of the old DC comics, as well as the Archives of several series Dark Horse is doing, like say, BROTHERS OF THE SPEAR. I grew up on those so it’s nostalgia. I recently read THE ROCKETEER, BALTIMORE, a five comic run on that character, and now and again I dip into a Batman collection. I prefer to read them when a run has been collected. I also read David Morrell’s CAPTAIN AMERICA and loved it.

Zauberspiegel: What series or character would you like to write in Comics (Garth Ennis works reminds me so much of your writing-style, you could be brothers in mind – as I have read his Punisher-stories I had thought: so Joe would have written Frank Castle)?
Joe Lansdale:  I know Garth is aware of my writing and likes it. He told me so. As for which character, there are too many to list. But I’m interested now in doing something creator owned. I did that once, BLOOD AND SHADOWS, but by the time the art work was finished, the enthusiasm for the comic had been lost and it got less attention than it deserved.

Zauberspiegel: Is there any chance we can enjoy another novel with Harry Wilkes (from Lost Echoes) in the future? You like to appear your characters as X-overs in other novels – like the very cool Jim Bob.
Joe Lansdale: You never know, because I don’t know. I tend to follow my passions. It could happen, and it might not. We’ll see.

Zauberspiegel: What was the last movie you have seen in the cinema and what movie did you really hate in the recent time?
Joe Lansdale: Oh, I don’t now about hate, but I just saw MY WEEK WITH MARILYN and TINKER, TAILOR, SOLDIER, SPY and loved both of those.

Zauberspiegel: Thank you for your time and interest. Keep up your fabulous work.

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