Friday, February 13, 2015

Bosch starts today!

Ali Karim, Michael Connelly, Ayo Onatade, Mike Stotter, and Craig Sisterson at the Bosch London premiere

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the London premiere screening of Bosch, the groundbreaking Amazon Prime television series that finally brings one of contemporary crime fiction's greatest characters to the screen. I felt very lucky to get to attend the premiere, for a number of reasons.

First, it was great to catch up with Michael Connelly, who I've interviewed before for both the Canvas magazine of the Weekend Herald and the New Zealand Listener. Michael is one of my all-time favourite crime writers, from way back before I became a crime fiction reviewer, interviewer, and award judge.  I remember reading THE POET more than a decade ago and immediately knowing I'd found another terrific author who I'd follow for book after book. Last time I met Michael in person was in New Zealand four years ago, when I interviewed him onstage for the NZ premiere of The Lincoln Lawyer movie.

I remember chatting to Michael at the time about the potential to bring his most beloved character, LAPD detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch, to the screen. At the time the rights to the Bosch series had been optioned and stuck in 'development hell' for many years, with many false-starts, and Michael seemed a little resigned to the fact that nothing was on the immediate horizon. We also had a fun discussion about Matthew McConaughey taking a dramatic turn as Mickey Haller, and who we could envisage ever playing Bosch (it was hard to think of viable candidates). So it's terrific to see things come full circle in a way, meeting up with Michael again for the premiere of Bosch, meeting Titus Welliver who plays Bosch, and also having a great chat about how McConaughey's dramatic acting career has gone from strength to strength since The Lincoln Lawyer. 

Titus Welliver, who is superb as Bosch,
and myself at the London premiere. 
Second, it was terrific to meet Titus Welliver, who brings Harry Bosch to life onscreen in a way I'd not dared to think was possible. Back when Michael and I chatted about potential screen adaptations, I struggled to think of an actor who could bring it off, as Bosch is such an internal and in some ways non-demonstrative character (despite being a man of dogged action and relentless will). A big name film actor could have got the 'Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher - pfffftttt' backlash from longtime fans, and lesser-known character actors might have been dismissed by some as not having enough gravitas or cachet for such an iconic role.

But boy have I been impressed by Titus. I've seen advance screeners of the first four episodes of the new Amazon Prime series, and for me, he completely embodies Harry Bosch. It's the little things he does, the quiet moments, where he just brings so much to the character. I interviewed Michael earlier that afternoon about bringing Bosch to screen, and got some great insights into why Michael wanted Titus to play Bosch, and the challenges of bringing that character to screen. I'm writing a feature for Crime Time magazine in the UK from that interview, which I will share later.

In a very strange way, that I never expected, I now picture Titus when I think of Harry Bosch. His performance is that powerful, in a good way. As you can see from the photo above, I'm a Sons of Anarchy fan (great TV show), and so I'd been somewhat familiar with Titus as he had a recurring role as Irish gun runner 'Jimmy O' in that California-based series. It was a real pleasure to meet Titus and chat a bit about bringing Bosch to screen (I'll be incorporating his comments into the Crime Time piece too). Incidentally, when he saw me at the pre-screening drinks, he yelled out 'Nice t-shirt', with a big grin on his face.

Last but not least, along with catching up with Michael and meeting Titus, one of the best things about the London premiere of Bosch was getting to share the whole experience with three fellow crime fiction buffs who I'd known or known of online and by email for a number of years, but hadn't met in person until now. In New Zealand I'm used to attending some terrific books events as part of a general literary crowd, where I'm often somewhat tabbed as 'the crime guy' amongst media and reviewers. So it has been lovely to meet Ali Karim, Ayo Onatade, and Mike Stotter, all of whom write for Shots magazine (Mike is the editor), and are powerful voices in the crime fiction community not only in Britain, but also North America. We had a great time together, including having a quiet drink with Michael at a nice little pub down the road afterwards, and I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more of each of them in the months ahead, as I'll be based in London.

Bosch star Titus Welliver, Shots magazine's Ayo Onatade, author and producer Michael Connelly, and myself 

The one downside of attending the London premiere (and this is a tiny quibble)? After having watched the first four episodes the night before, and watching the pilot again at the premiere... I was champing at the bit to see the entire ten episode of Bosch. The series is beautifully shot - it's really cinematic in nature and tone - and is just an absorbing drama that is quite different to many other things on screen. Titus brings Bosch to life wonderfully, and there are some cracking performances by a high-quality cast of familiar faces (actors from shows like The Wire, and more). The first season mixes plotlines from three of Michael's books - THE CONCRETE BLONDE, CITY OF BONES, and ECHO PARK, in a very intriguing way.

I'm very excited that the entire ten episodes of Bosch will all be available for download, perfect for binge-watchers like myself, on Friday 13 February. Amazon Prime is doing things a little differently to traditional television dramas, and I really like it. Incidentally, I believe you can try Amazon Prime free for a month, so now would be a perfect time to sign up (I'm going to), try out Bosch for free, then go from there.

There have been talks about a second series - so if you're a fan of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch books, make sure you download the TV series, and post comments and ratings etc. Because Amazon will be using all that feedback to make decisions about filming another series. From what I've seen so far, I think most crime fiction fans are going to be very pleased with how Harry Bosch has finally been brought to screen.

I'd love to hear your thoughts - please feel free to leave a comment.

1 comment:

  1. I am from Kerala, a state in India. We hardly have any platforms to discuss about mystery and suspense fictions. Wish, I could meet my favourite authors too.