I hate when I see plans for a new TV show or movie, get my hopes up and nothing comes to fruition. It’s worse when you hear the news and tell others, who also get excited and they come to you later and ask…“what ever happened to that show you told me about?” This is the reason I’ve been reluctant to share certain projects (live action Akira or Ninja Scrolls) that peck my interest with the Cypher Ave audience.
Back in 2014 I heard about possible development of a show based on the adventures of Hap and Leonard. Having never heard of the book series by author Joe Lansdale (who first introduced the duo in 1990 with Savage Season) my interest in the show was based upon reading the description of Leonard, “a Black crime fighting Vietnam vet who is also homosexual.” As not to get my hopes up (just in case the TV show may never come) I did at least want to read one of the novels.
This past summer more blurbs come out stating that the project had been greenlit, casting was in progress, shooting was to begin later in 2015 and the series would premier on Sundance channel…meh. I still needed more evidence. Well, the additional evidence is here as we get our first look at Hap and Leonard.
Leonard will be play by Michael K. Williams, better known from his breakout role as Omar in HBO’s The Wire. Set in the 1980’s, the Sundance channel will premier 6 one hour long episodes reportedly in early 2016.
Additional details on the main characters;
Leonard Pine is a gay, black Vietnam vet with serious anger issues. He was raised by his uncle who shunned him after learning he was gay. However, when his uncle passes away, he leaves his house and all his assets to Leonard. Leonard has zero tolerance for racist or anti-gay slurs. Although Hap dislikes guns, Leonard has no problem carrying or using them. Quick to anger, at times he cannot understand Hap’s aversion to violence or killing if necessary, even when provoked. His relationships are also short and tempestuous. Leonard is the much more aggressive of the two and repeatedly burned down a local crack house that used to be his new next door neighbor.
Hap Collins (played by James Purefoy) is a white working class laborer who spent time in federal prison as a young man for refusing to be drafted into the military and serve in the Vietnam War. In his late forties, he is often haunted by the various unpleasant jobs he’s held over the years such as working at an aluminum chair factory and working the East Texas rose fields. The two now work for the former police officer turned private investigator Marvin Hanson. Hap tries his best to avoid violence and also tries his best to avoid the taking of another human life. Often lovesick, most of his relationships haven’t worked out. He is currently with his on-again-off-again girlfriend Brett Sawyer. Some of his past has been taken from Mr. Lansdale’s own past. The stories are told from Hap’s narrative point of view. Not as quick to anger as Leonard, he often finds himself attempting to talk Leonard out of committing serious violence.
Glad to see there will be a homosexual man of color on TV in 2016 (albeit for only 6 episodes) that will add to a small but growing list of non-stereotypical characters. Cypher Avenue will provide more details of actually air dates of Hap & Leonard when they become available. Props to the Sundance channel.