Elmore Leonard & adaptations of books to TV and film

I just finished Killshot by Elmore Leonard recently, and I’m once again reminded of how great Leonard is as a suspense/crime writer.

A lot of people will probably best-known Leonard as the author of the stories/books that have been turned into the recent (and great) TV show “Justified” (on FX), but his work’s also been turned into “Out Of Sight” (the film), “Karen Sisko” (the TV series), the films “Get Shorty” and “Jackie Brown” (two of my favorite movies of all time), and even “3:10 To Yuma.” There’s even a film version of “Killshot” starring Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Thomas Jayne, and Diane Lane.

I really hate to admit this, but as much as his writing his great, the film and TV adaptations of his works are just as good if not better than the source material. His off-topic ramblings and overall stream of storytelling, while really one-of-a-kind, translates poorly if not “tightened up.” The dialogue’s trimmed a bit and the story’s streamlined in terms of events organized differently, rearranged, and honestly, it helps. It helps it a lot.

This doesn’t, by any means, take away from Leonard’s writing. As a story/book, it’s excellent. As something to base a visual medium on, it definitely needed something else. I’m glad that it found it when they make TV shows and movies of Leonard’s already-awesome works.


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