"Hawaiian Dick" goes Hollywood, B. Clay Moore talks deal

Reader's of B. Clay Moore and Steven Griffin's "Hawaiian Dick" know full well that the comic would make for a great movie. The book, based in the 1950s, follows a disgraced detective named Byrd who's moved to Hawaii to live a quieter life as a private investigator. He's joined by Honolulu Detective Mo Kalama in solving crimes that might fall a bit outside the jurisdiction or interest of the local police department. Filled with '50s pop culture, tiki fascination, Jazz appreciation and a little bit of the supernatural and you've got yourself a great comic that should translate nicely to film. And now Hollywood agrees.

It was announced today that New Line Cinema will develop a feature film based on the Image Comic with "Jackass" and "Walking Tall" star Johnny Knoxville to play the hero. CBR News caught up with writer B. Clay Moore to learn a bit more about how things got lined up and what's coming next.

"Jim Strader, who reps the book, had pitched 'Hawaiian Dick' around town a few months back, and New Line was one of the studios that initially passed," Moore told CBR News Wednesday. "The head of New Line, who hadn't heard the pitch, contacted us a few weeks back and asked to hear it personally. So Jim went back in, along with writers Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, and he loved it. They made us an offer a few days later."

At this point in time there's no set release date, but that's to be expected this early on in the process. Moore told CBR News that the story for the film will be based on the original comic series, but certain changes will be made to better fit the story into a feature-length film. "Of course, that may all change between now and the time it hits the screen," admitted Moore. He's handed the writing team of Shannon and Swift notes on the books and they've made it clear they want the script to stay as faithful to the source material as possible.

With Knoxville attached as the star of the film, it gives "Hawaiian Dick" instant name recognition. Moore's been invited to come out to to Los Angeles to meet the star and be a part of pitches for the book, but hasn't had a chance to make it out to the City of Angels yet. Moore thinks that Knoxville is a great choice for the part.

"Knoxville's perceived as a rising star in Hollywood, and it's easy to see why," said Moore. "He's a good-looking guy without being pretty, and has a roguish charm, if that makes sense. I think the period details works well around him, too. He's also a pretty good actor, and we think he can pull off the 'downtrodden with dignity' aspect of Byrd's character with no problem. And we know he can handle physical punishment, which is a requirement for anyone slated to play Byrd."

Moore said that a number of directors have approached them throughout the pitch process, but no serious talks have started as of yet. "We're assuming most of the film will be shot in Hawaii," added Moore.

Selling "Hawaiian Dick" to Hollywood wasn't an overnight thing. It took patience and a strong stomach to deal with the many ups and downs that finally got them to this point.

"We didn't create the book with Hollywood in mind, but it didn't take long for Hollywood to find us," said Moore. "I hooked up with Jim Strader at AniManagement (now Quattro) shortly after my initial conversations with a few producers. Jim has shepherded the project since then, letting us know who we should be talking to, and who we shouldn't be talking to.

"He assembled the Knoxville/Shannon/Swift team, and we put our trust in him from there. There have been a lot of 'almosts' along the way, and we had to make a few difficult choices during the process, but I think we ended up in pretty solid shape. After all, I figure New Line needs something to fill the void left by 'The Lord of the Rings.'

"And fingers crossed that it helps the book reach a larger audience. 'Hawaiian Dick' is not a superhero comic, and it's not published by Marvel or DC, so it has to fight for readers. We've done well so far, but we want to do even better. Massive critical acclaim, Eisner nominations, a Hollywood deal. All things we hope bring new readers into the fold when 'Hawaiian Dick: The Last Resort' debuts."

Look for more details on "Hawaiian Dick" the comic book in the coming weeks here on CBR.

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