A novel comes to life in Hollywood…in vignettes.

Between takes with director and star Blair Underwood

Monday, Blair Underwood shot the first footage for his webisodes for From Cape Town with Love, a book I co-authored with my husband, Steven Barnes, in partnership with Blair.   It will be published May 18 by Atria.

When I was in college, a friend of mine named Robert Vamosi adapted a short story I’d written called “The Other Side” to film, back in the 1980s.  My Soul to Keep has been in film development at a studio for a long time—Blair introduced it to Hollywood—but so far, no movie.

Long story.

Steve, Blair and I always conceived of our Tennyson Hardwick mystery series as a marriage of Hollywood and New York publishing—titles riffing on classic movies, book covers that could double as movie posters, and even a suggested MP3 soundtrack.

But nothing had been committed to film, until Monday.  Blair convinced our publisher to give him some backing, and he directed and produced the vignettes.  The budget was a shoestring.  Steve and I wrote the screenplay.

Monday, for the first time, I saw professional actors read dialogue that I’d written on camera, portraying scenes that had begun as only a notion.  I had a cameo as a jogger past Ten’s sports car near the Hollywood sign.  (Nope, I’m not in the photo below… That’s Kellita Smith from “The Bernie Mac Show.”)

For more photos, check out Flickr.

Tennyson Hardwick is born. Photo credit: Maria Savoy

Movie magic is right.

My husband, Steve, showed me yet another dimension of himself as Blair’s fight choreographer.  I knew that Steve is a fourth-degree black belt, but I hadn’t seen it until the shoot.  Watching Blair and Steve rehearse together was like poetry in motion—Steve is a brilliant teacher, and Blair is a quick, intuitive student.  Steve ended his day with Blair “kicking” him into the swimming pool, and Steve carried it off like a pro.

Tennyson squares off with hubby (and co-author) Steven Barnes during rehearsal. Photo credit: Maria Savoy

“Extra” came to cover the shoot.

The weather was the best we’ve had all week.

Sometimes, everything comes together.  That’s what happened on the day of the shoot.  All of us could feel it.

Another shoot next week holds special promise of its own.

Welcome to Hollywood, Tennyson Hardwick.  Always a gentleman.

Thanks for opening the door.



Filed under On writing

4 responses to “A novel comes to life in Hollywood…in vignettes.

  1. Tamika

    Can’t wait, can’t wait!

  2. Margarett

    I am so excited to know that “Tennyson Hardwick” is coming to the screen. I am a fan of the works of Ms. Due and enjoy the wonderful work done by Mr. Underwood. I hope to get to experience the works of Mr. Barnes as well.

    I too can’t wait for the video. I know it will be terrific. You are all tremendously talented and the world needs to see and hear more of your works.

  3. I loved From Cape Town With Love.

    Though, I do think its a little evil to give a taste of the fourth book because it just makes me want it now.

    Looking forward to the video

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