Thomas Wayne talks about his plans to bring the words of THE GISCH to the big screen.

As most of you know, Victor Gischler is a hell of a writer. Nothing new there, but in the last year, Hollywood has come to realize that as well. At the time of this writing, Victor has four novels optioned as well as one original screenplay in development.
Earlier this year, Victor did something most others do not: He offered up one of his stories for free.

Back in February, The Gisch made a simple offer: Send him a pitch for one of his short stories and, if it is the best, you get the rights to that story.

Why would he give some of his writing away for free? Many people will grab every damn penny available and still ask for more.

Victor ain’t like that. According to him, I felt bad turning down folks that came asking. Most of his novels have already been claimed, and the remaining ones have enough value that there has to be some money and experience behind any pitch. But, Victor has written a lot of stories (many of them are damn good!) and felt that a short story was the perfect prize for this contest.

In June, Victor announced that Thomas Wayne was the winner. Thomas is a senior writer for the baseball writing site as well as being a huge film buff.

I  spoke with Thomas to find out which story he picked and why.

Thomas: My main goal was to find a short story that would translate well to film. Of the eight or so of Victor’s short stories I hunted down on the internet I felt two of them had serious cinematic potential. In the end I went with THE ROYAL CROWN KILLER.

When I first read it it was very easy to envision as a film. The pacing was easy to envision. As I read it a second and third time I realized what I was reading was a bare-knuckled, archetypal film noir. The characters were dark and desperate. The private dick with a dark past. The femme fatale with deadly secret. The cop with a crooked agenda. They were all there. I began to picture Robert Mitchum, Charles McGraw and Gloria Grahame playing the main characters and thought this could be really cool if done right.

What is your vision for the film? Small budget?

Thomas: Since I envisioned it as a film noir, that’s how I pitched it to Victor. I changed the time period and location from current day Florida to St. Louis in the early 1950’s, fleshed out a few of his characters backgrounds and created a few characters and backgrounds of my own and before you know it I had the lay-out for a pretty cool hard-boiled period piece. The general plan, for now, is to actively seek investors and shoot for a budget somewhere between $200,000 and $300,000. I live in Arkansas near the Missouri state-line and you can’t go 200 miles in any direction without running into multiple buildings and architectural settings that just scream 1950. I’m also lucky enough to have two of the largest collector car clubs stationed in my neck of the woods as well as an antique car museum. When I approached them about possibly using their cars in a film they loved the idea. The museum owner’s exact words were “if you bring the beer we’ll bring the cars.” When you have the locations and cars from a certain period already in the fold half your production work is already done.
Now, there is the off chance we get lucky and get a big name or two involved and then this process goes to a whole other level. Victor and I are have talked about the possibility of trying to get some bigger name people on board. We don’t have anything planned yet but we have a few things we might consider trying. Like a lot of things it will all come down to making our own breaks. If our budget can be doubled or tripled we might have a chance to bring in some top tier acting talent. We’re planning on small but leaving the door open for big.
Are you a regular reader of Victor?
Thomas: I wouldn’t go as far to say I was a fan of Victor’s before this, but since I won his contest I AM A HUGE FAN! Seriously though, I first discovered his work in the Marvel One-Shot- Punisher: Little Black Book. I love it when the Punisher is done well and Little Black Book was just that, a hard hitting Punisher story. Then he had a story arc in the monthly Punisher book that had Frank Castle kicking some serious Red-Neck ass. Needless to say I enjoyed that thoroughly being a resident of a state with more than our fair share of that special brand of human being. It wasn’t long after that I stumbled across his blog and his contest to gain film rights to one of his shorts.

When did you first think you wanted to make a film?

Thomas: I have been trying to get any number of film projects off the ground for the past decade, maybe longer. It seems like I always hit some sort of sticking point, usually money, sometimes participation which is hard to get people to do when you don’t have a lot of loot involved that keeps the project from ever getting off the ground. I’ve never given up on the dream though, probably never will. I think this opportunity that Victor has provided me has the possibility to open a lot of doors. I definatley think this is why I never gave up. I told Victor when I pitched him my concept that in the past I’ve had some interest from investors but a great film concept and nothing more only got me to the starting line, no further. Now I have a great film concept, some special investor incentives and a name-name in the world of hard-boiled crime literature to back me up. I think this time I’ll not only get passed the starting line, I’ll win the race going away.

Mr. Tom has promised to keep us updated on his part in The Gisch’s plan for world domination.