The Joe Lansdale interview – The Hemingway of East Texas – Part 2

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Hap and Leonard – Courtesy of Sundance TV

Goodbye, Hap and Leonard and Hello, Future

1428 Elm: Sorry to hear about the cancellation of this terrific show. What are your takeaways from your time with Sundance and being one of the producers?

JL: James Purefoy and I were talking via email and neither one of us are sad. We had three great seasons. If we would have been able to continue we would have been more enthusiastic to do so. We’re both very content.

Fans were even disappointed and angry. I don’t think there is anything to be angry about. My takeaway is that Sundance treated me very well.

We were hoping it would move somewhere else but it didn’t. It was a wonderful experience. I met some great people.

I am working on the Bottoms which my friend Bill Paxton was supposed to direct. He was such a great guy with such a great vision of the film and his direction would have been awesome.

We have other plans, I’m not going to say what because that’s confidential. I am excited about it. I will be a producer on it. Although I am not the absolute producer on it, I hope to be more involved with it.

I am trying to be a more active producer on other projects of mine or a more absolute producer. So, we’ll see what happens.

I Didn’t Become a Writer Just to Be a Writer

1428 Elm: You have had a remarkable career and you are fluent in many genres although Wikipedia credits you with splatterpunk.  Do you have any advice for writers like yourself who don’t want to specialize in one area?

JL: I have written in all genres. If I influenced people writing splatterpunk, great! I don’t think of myself in that label. I am more complex than that. My house has many rooms so they say.

When I started out people would say to me you have to find your genre and hook into it. There is a certain truth to that but the problem is now you’re hooked into that genre and for some people it’s comfort.

Some people can write crime or horror for the rest of their lives and I say more power to you. There’s nothing wrong with that. I look at it as there are good stories and there are bad stories.

A lot of crime is literary like Raymond Chandler. You can’t tell me Ray Bradbury and Stephen King aren’t literary. For me, I didn’t become a writer just to be a writer.

All Is Well

Or just to be a product like toilet paper. Of course, I may be the best toilet paper to wipe your ass but I’m still toilet paper. I did not want to do that. Because I wanted to have my own way of writing. I have a very short attention span.

As a writer I am like a bee moving from one flower to another. Oh, I want to taste that one! It’s kept me hungry and excited. I’ll be 70 in three years. I hope I’ll still be as hungry then as I have always been.

Because I vary my interests, I’m not going to please everyone all the time. The writers that I admire like Rod Serling they moved around. People think of him as Twilight Zone. He wrote the Planet of the Apes script and Requiem for a Heavyweight.

Usually by this time in most people’s careers it’s gone the other way because they latch onto a genre that loses its popularity or its favoritism or they just get tired of what you do because you do it every time.

I’m comfortable and I’m doing well. As time goes on my career has been up not down.

Are you a fan of Joe Lansdale? Have you seen Bubba Ho-Tep? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below. We want to hear from you.

Next: Joshua Jabcuga: When Joe R. Lansdale gives you advice, you listen!

Susan Leighton can be found on Twitter and Facebook @SusanontheLedge. She is also featured on Friday Night Tights, the ultimate pop culture wrap up show at Nerdrotic Podcast every Friday night at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. You can catch her weekly coverage on IFC’s Brockmire at TV Series Hub.