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Dennis: 10+ years ago, I attempted a novel in which one of the characters rescued a dog from a trash can. I couldn’t pull the novel together, though. It broke my heart because I loved several of the characters—the guy who found the dog, his cousin who owned a bar, a woman he met, a messed up but well-meaning cop. A few years later, I went back to the first chapter, where Bob Saginowski finds the dog, and turned it into a short story. Some folks in Hollywood asked if I’d adapt it into a screenplay. The idea appealed to me because I still had that bench of secondary characters I hadn’t gotten a chance to use.
David: The Drop is your screenwriting debut. How does writing a screenplay differ from writing prose? Which do you prefer?
Dennis: A novelist is God; all originates from him and he has final say over his universe from a single blade of grass to breadth of the Milky Way. A screenwriter is an employee, one of maybe 150 people who contribute to a film. It’s so much less stressful being the employee than it is being God, no question, but maybe I like stress.
David: What was it like to revisit characters you initially created for a short story and bring them into a full length novel?
Dennis: It was like bringing them home. They’d belonged in a novel all along; it just took me over a decade to figure out what that novel/script/film actually was.
David: What’s it like to see characters you’ve created in print come to life on screen? Do you find that actors surprise you, draw out qualities that you didn’t recognize on the page?
Dennis: Great actors have no skin. They’re all exposed nerve and naked heart. To watch someone as gifted as Tom Hardy, Sean Penn, or Amy Ryan, to name just three, inhabit my characters and take them to places I never could have predicted—but to do so with conviction and honesty—has been profoundly gratifying.
David: The dog plays such a central role in this story. Where did your inspiration for him come from?
Dennis: I love dogs. Got one snoring at my feet as I write this.
David: The setting of Boston has always played an important role in your novels. What brings you back there?
Dennis: I was blessed to grow up in a unique city during difficult times. It’s given me a lifelong affinity for unique and difficult things.
David: The Drop is a gritty, dark story, and there are no conventional “heroes.” Do you ever have an author’s anxiety about characters’ likeability? Dennis: No. We loved Tony Soprano, a murderer who destroyed most of what he touched, because he was harried by his mother and couldn’t get his basic household appliances to work when he needed them to; we loved Othello, even after he murdered his wife, because most of us understand the pain of being treated as second class, regardless of our achievement. Audiences don’t what likeable characters, they want relatable ones. In The Drop what the characters want—absolution from past sins; respect; a knight to come to their rescue; confirmation of their faith—strikes me as pretty common stuff. Not dark at all. (Okay, a little dark.)
Lehane writes characters.
I have been a huge fan of Dennis Lehane since A Drink Before the War and he doesn't disappoint with this short novel, one of the best he has written in years.
There was a lot of intriguing material that could have been developed further, although I didn't feel as if the book ended abruptly or was too short.
Tense & thrilling. Clarifies the film which moves too quickly at times. Typical Lehane. Brilliant, suspenseful and a quick Sunday read.Published 1 hour ago by BRUCE ARDEN
Dennis Lehane does it again. For most of the book, you're wondering where is this going? The characters are so well drawn you honestly don't care they are so fascinating to watch. Read morePublished 5 hours ago by HRM
The darker side of life in the city.
Be advised The Drop is more of a novella at 207 pages. It is a novelization of a screenplay developed from the Lehane short story,... Read more
Good book, jumped a bit to get to the end. Worth reading.Published 8 hours ago by William J. Elston
I liked the read it had a few turns to keep one guessing. I was not disappointed in this read.Published 9 hours ago by John H. Coffey
Good book, but then I like all of Lehane's books. It kept you with the story w/o ever giving away the ending.Published 1 day ago by George Frank Karem
Lehane is always perfection and this is no exception. I always care about his characters, no matter how flawed. Read morePublished 1 day ago by mickey wilson
Awesome story! Thoroughly pleased to open the newspaper and see that it is now a movie with the irreplaceable Mr. Gandolfini!!!Wow!Published 1 day ago by Elizabeth Medeiros