Film based on Nacogdoches writer's novel will be an entry at Sundance

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Nacogdoches mystery writer Joe R. Lansdale is no stranger to Hollywood. Many film producers are attracted to his books that cross all genre lines.

However, one in particular called, "Cold in July," is going the farthest. It's been selected as a competition film in the famed Sundance Film Festival. He's going to introduce Texas to Hollywood stars at Utah's Sundance Film Festival.

Friday, Lansdale came in from the December cold to talk about "Cold in July."

Fans at a local coffee shop stopped the personable writer. He shared with them first that his East Texas-based "Cold in July" novel is now a Sundance movie by the same name.

"I'm actually in it. I had a little bitty small part," Lansdale said. "If you don't blink, you won't miss me."

Can you tell the writer is excited? Rightfully so. Only the standouts are selected as a Sundance competition film.

"People when they ask me say, 'Are you going to win? Do you think you'll win.' I say, 'I have no idea. I'm sure the director hopes he does,'" Lansdale said. "But even if he doesn't you've already won by having it there. It's going to help the distribution tremendously."

The big stars will help in that regard as well. Well-known actors are in it, including, Dexter's Michael C. Hall, Miami Vice's Don Johnson and Right Stuff's Sam Shepherd. While on the set for two weeks, Lansdale coached them on East Texas accents.

"And then being able to nail those lines and present them accurately and with an East Texas feel. I was very satisfied."

"Cold in July" is a story of a small-town Texas man who kills a home intruder and then is met by a revengeful stalker. It came to Lansdale in a dream following a day of house hunting

"I actually went to a house and saw a bullet hole in the ceiling," Lansdale said. "We were thinking about buying a new house. For some reason, that bullet hole bothered me. I thought, 'How did that bullet hole get there?' And I went home at night and began to dream in sequence, strange enough, this entire novel."

The story went through 13 options, but became an orphaned project. "Cold in July" finally found its family. Even his daughter, Kasey Lansdale, an accomplished singer and songwriter has music in the film.

"It's always good to have films made about East Texas," Lansdale said. "The unfortunate thing is that it takes place in East Texas, but it was filmed in upstate new York."

Lansdale is inspired. He's hoping to direct his own screenplay in the future. Shoot location? Nacogdoches, of course.

The Lansdale family will attend Utah's Sundance Film Festival in January for the "Cold in July" premier.

In February, the film and its director will participate in the Nacogdoches Film Festival. Soon afterward, it will be released to theatres.

For more information about the film, visit this link. Visit this link for more information about the Sundance Film Festival. Another Web article has information about both the book and the movie. Visit this Web page as well.

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