|Bill Leonard -- Son of Author Elmore Leonard Interviewed for the (2015) Documentary -- The Dickens of Detroit|
Writer/Director John Mulholland and Producer Richard Zampella are in Detroit, Michigan this week, filming Interviews for the upcoming documentary, Elmore Leonard: The Dickens of Detroit. The documentary explores Elmore Leonard’s life, his works and his place in the American literary pantheon. When Elmore Leonard died on August 20, 2013 at age 87, he left behind more than 40 novels and dozens of short stories. By almost universal consent, he is the finest American crime writer in the 20th Century . Many critics argue that, if anything, the reference to genre slights his contributions. Martin Amis described him as “a literary genius,” and “the nearest America has to a national writer.”
Throughout the fifties, Elmore Leonard was an obscurity, toiling in a dying genre – the western – putting down first drafts on yellow notepads from five to seven in the morning, before laboring all day on the Chevrolet truck account at Campbell Ewald, a Detroit ad agency. By the 1970s, Leonard had turned to crime fiction -- set usually in Detroit or South Florida -- and the men and women who commit the crimes. And then, in 1985, featured on the cover of Newsweek, Elmore Leonard became the proverbial overnight sensation and an NY Times best-selling author. Leonard became a household name, profiled in GQ, Rolling Stone and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Praised by authors and critics, Time Magazine dubbed him “The Dickens of Detroit.”
When he died in 2013, at age 87, he was still writing, still a NY Times best-selling author. Chances are you knew him, even if you didn’t know his name, by such film titles as: Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Out Of Sight, or the TV series, Justified. As Elmore Leonard once said, “I’ve always seen my books as movies.”
John Mulholland (Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen) has been immersed in everything Elmore Leonard for a year, his writing – novels, short stories, screenplays, and films based on his work -- and much of what has been written about him over the decades. He is in the process of interviewing Leonard’s family and closest friends, along with a rich assortment of women and men who worked with Leonard or who have written about and studied Leonard.
Richard Zampella is a documentary film producer who has created content for Warner Home Video and Paramount Pictures. Among his production credits are producer of Sergeant York of God and Country, narrated by Liam Neeson. Inside High Noon narrated by Frank Langella and Cooper & Hemingway: The True Gen narrated by Sam Waterston. The later was chosen by the New York Times as a Critics’ Pic in October of 2013.
Visit the Dickens of Detroit Website