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Interview: Dennis Lehane on Adapting ‘Black Bird’ for Apple TV+

Apple TV+

Dennis Lehane, the author of books like Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, and Shutter Island that were made into successful movies, tackles someone else’s source material for his latest project. The six-episode Apple TV+ limited series Black Bird, based on the book In With The Devil: A Fallen Hero, A Serial Killer, and A Dangerous Bargain for Redemption, follows convicted drug dealer Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton) as he is offered a reduced sentence in exchange for extracting information from suspected serial killer Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser).

Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Lehane about working with this talented cast, which also includes the late Ray Liotta, tackling the story in this format, and other projects that may or may not be coming up for him. It turns out that his initial involvement with Black Bird was quite reluctant:

“The book was placed in my hands by producer Kary Antholis, and I didn’t want to read it, to be honest with you. I don’t like serial killers, and I don’t like prisons, so it was already two strikes against the material. And then Kary just said, come on, man, just read it, just read it. And I trusted his tastes, so I read it. Right near the end of it, I said, ooh, I think I know a way in to the story that I want to tell.” 

When asked about the upcoming 20th anniversary of the film version of Mystic River and whether he’s been reflecting back, Lehane offered a window into his philosophy:

“No, I haven’t. I’m not a look back-er guy. I don’t look back. There’s a great line in Heat that I always quote to define myself. ‘All I am is what I’m going after.’ In terms of my career, I never look back. I’m just always thinking, what’s the next thing, what’s the next thing. I haven’t given it a bit of thought, sorry.”

Listen to the full conversation below!

The series finale of Black Bird debuts Friday, August 5th on Apple TV+.

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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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