Godless and Cormac McCarthy, pt. 2: follow-up with Scott Frank

Last month I shared my thoughts on Scott Frank’s Netflix series Godless. You can read it here. I also posted it on twitter. Scott Frank read it there. And he replied. Frank set me straight, and to my surprise, he has never read Blood Meridian. Below is the conversation that we had via twitter.

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Scott Frank: “I’ve not read Blood Meridian. I stole plenty from the likes of Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey and Harry Combs. But not McCarthy. The ‘bad guy’ preacher is in lots of stories going back to Night of the Hunter and Will Penny’s ‘Preacher Quint.’ Glad you liked the show in the end.”

Me: “I guess it shows how much all the western writers borrowed from each other. Thanks for clarifying. I’ll update my blog post to let folks know. Again, great work.”

Scott Frank: “And I really need to read Blood Meridian! I’ve avoided that as I knew someone had already adapted it for a film. Just hasn’t been made yet.”

Me: “Well, if anyone could do it. I think you have proven yourself. I’d love to see it as a mini-series.”

Scott Frank: “I haven’t been shy in interviews about how I borrowed as many western tropes as I could and tried work them into the story of Godless. The crooked preacher is certainly one of those, one that appeared well before Blood Meridian.”

Twitter user @LesterHerrick: “How about Anthony Mann. Do you like his westerns? Cheers.”

Me: “I’m not familiar with Anthony Mann’s work. I’ll check it out. One of my favorites is Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch which McCarthy borrowed heavily from.”

Scott Frank: “Biggest film influences for me were High Plains Drifter, Unforgiven, Shane, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, Butch Cassidy, and the entire Leone canon. The spaghetti’s are my absolute favorites. Unforgiven is a flat out masterpiece.”

Twitter user @LesterHerrick: “Damn! Agree. My kinda talk. is up there with those.”

Me: “I was going to say the same thing. Godless has now entered the cannon of great Westerns.”

Me: “One of the other similarities I thought I noticed between Godless and Cormac McCarthy was the Whitey Winn character. He reminded so much of Jimmy Blevins in All the Pretty Horses. But as I now know, I was just projecting all this into my viewing of the show.”

Scott Frank: “He’s a lot like Jimmy! I always loved that character.”

***

While my initial response about the similarities with Blood Meridian was off, I do feel validated with Scott Frank’s verifying comment on the Jimmy Blevins and the Whitey Winn character. Also, I thought it pretty cool that Scott Frank was willing to comment so openly.

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