I’m really excited about my next film project, PERDIDO, adapted from a novel by Taos, New Mexico author Rick Collignon. PERDIDO takes place in a small town in northern New Mexico and, like a Steinbeck novel, the characters and setting are equally important in telling the story. Will is a newcomer to Guadalupe, only living in the community for 17 years (many people in Guadalupe claim six or seven or more generations in the area).
He’s been accepted as a resident but still considered an outsider, especially when he learns of the unsolved death, decades ago, of a young woman. He starts asking questions about the case, and the reactions from community members familiar with the case force him to confront his own lingering questions of how much he really is considered part of the community.
Will and the dead woman are Anglo, in a community that is almost exclusively Hispanic and wary of outsiders of any ethnicity. These racial tensions come to the surface as Will begins to dig deeper into the mystery of the young woman’s death. Despite working, shopping, eating, drinking, playing baseball, and even sleeping with the locals for years, he discovers that he is just as much a newcomer now as he was when he first came to Taos. But he is still tolerated and not run out of town in the middle of the night by an armed mob, which sometimes happens in northern New Mexico.
Anyone who’s ever moved to a new town knows what it’s like to adjust to new sights, sounds, smells, traffic patterns, people, and cultures. I’ve moved around quite a bit, growing up in Michigan, living in California, and now New Mexico. I’ve been able to carve out a niche among the creatives here by selling land to fund my independent films. I’ve also been accepted as a member of the Taos community, something that isn’t experienced by every newcomer. Perhaps that’s why PERDIDO interests me so much.
The more I read the novel–and I’ve lost count of how many times that is–the more I see Rick Collignon as the northern New Mexican Steinbeck. Both of their works are genuine, pulling no punches and pummeling the reader with the truth of the human experience, good and bad but always poetic.
I’ve been so moved by the power of the book that I optioned the rights almost immediately. This will be my first movie shot almost entirely in New Mexico, in my adopted home of Taos. I have my ideal cast in mind, and work actively several hours daily to reach out to those actors, some of the biggest performers in Hollywood and around the world.
I envision Arron Paul (Jesse Pinkman on Breaking Bad) as Will. Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, Stand and Deliver, American Me) would be perfect as Telesfor, the wise storyteller. Benicio del Toro (Traffic) would bring Ray to life. I’ve already received a commitment from Sandra Echeverria (Casa de mi Padre, The Bridge, Savages) to play Will’s girlfriend, Lisa. I look forward to sharing any updates with you. In the meantime, have a wonderful day and thanks for reading my latest post!
P.S. You can read more about the book at the Unbridled Books publisher website. Buy the book, read it, and let me know what you think of it!