May 17, 2011Received an inquiry from a film company in California asking me about a good project for a 3-D Western. They are wondering if there is an untold story of the West that is ripe for a movie. Here is my reply:
Thanks for the inquiry. This is something I think about every day. My first reaction would be to nominate the story of Mickey Free and the Apache Kid, which has never been told before, but we have featured parts of this story in True West magazine and so far, no one in the film biz has expressed interest. Part of the problem I think, and this is a problem for Westerns in general, is that Native Americans have been taken out of the equation. You can't show them in a bad light. The only exception to this is Michael Blake's "Dances With Wolves" where he makes a Crow Indian the bad guy, while making the Lakota as pure as the driven snow. He gets away with it because the Crow, historically, sided with the whites during the Custer campaign.
Look at the current status of The Lone Ranger project. Johnny Depp will only play Tonto, if the "faithful Indian" is portrayed as the real brains behind the duo. Clever, but it turns the power of the story on its head. It may work, i don't know.
How's that for undermining my own suggestion for a great Western? Ha. I still think Mickey Free is a great project, but it will take a clever approach to make it fly. It certainly has 3-D potential with cliff diving mules and epic fire sequence shots. I can send you some of the story boarding if you'd like to see it.
I'm currently working on several female Western characters, among them Rattlesnake Kate, Li Lee of Mexicali and La Gata (muchos hombres, no problemo). We are featuring outlaw women in the next issue of True West and this is my prediction, of where the Western will go.
Working on a Mexican Apocalypse landscape.
Which do you think has better marquee value: Mexicali Li Li? Li Li of Mexicali? Or, Li Lee from Mexicali?
Received word yesterday that Nora Henn of Lincoln, New Mexico passed away. She was the go to source for the Lincoln County War and she shared with me much of her research. She also chided me for joking around too much in my first book on Billy the Kid (see first edition, 1992, where everyone is sleeping with Susan McSween and it turns into a running joke). Nora told me I can do satire or history, but not at the same time. She was right. I already miss her.
"A true friend is someone who can tell you all his troubles, but doesn't."
—Old Vaquero Saying